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CREC Ana Grace Academy Fifth-Grader announced as 2018 Connecticut Kid Governor

The winner of the 2018 Connecticut’s Kid Governor® (CTKG) Statewide Election was revealed during a school-wide assembly at the CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School in Avon, November 21 at 10 a.m.

This year’s winner Ella Briggs of East Hampton, a fifth-grader at the school, campaigned on equity, specifically LGBTQ student rights and issues. Her slogan was “Love is Love.”

Students were under the impression that they were attending an assembly however, CTKG Officials surprised them with announcement that one of their classmates had won the election. The Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus performed for the students—their first time ever performing in a school. CREC Administration, representatives from True Colors, State Senator Douglas McCrory (CREC’s director of Family Engagement), and State Representative Jeff Currey were in attendance.

The assembly began with a video announcing Ella as the winner. Sen. McCrory and Rep. Currey each presented citations to Ella from the State, and Currey presented her with a pin proclaiming her part of Connecticut’s LGBTQ Caucus. Head of CTKG Brian Francesco, Principal Patti Phelan, Ella’s Teacher Chelsea Davis, and Superintendent of CREC Schools Tim Sullivan also spoke.

Ella proudly read her victory speech and thanked everyone for their support. The classmates in attendance chanted “Ella! Ella! Ella!” as she concluded.

Connecticut’s Kid Governor is a statewide civics program for fifth graders created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network in 2015. The program offers each school in Connecticut the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election. All fifth graders in the State are eligible to vote.

In 2018 over 6400 votes were cast, a record for the program. Ella’s competitors, were:

Eva Greenspan, Eric G. Norfeldt Elementary School, West Hartford. Issue: Child Poverty

Hayden Xhokaxhiu, Pleasant Valley Elementary School, South Windsor. Issue: Limiting Electronic Use

Jason Hayes II, Casimir Pulaski Elementary School, Meriden. Issue: Children’s Literacy

Madison Lowthert, Our Lady of Fatima School, Wilton. Issue: Recycling

Melody Valdes, Dr. Thomas S. O’Connell Elementary School, East Hartford. Issue: Food for All

Reilly Bard, Plantsville Elementary School, Southington. Issue: Foster Care

Currey, a democrat, whose district covers parts of Manchester, East Hartford, and South Windsor, is openly gay and met with Ella on October 22 to answer questions as she built her platform and visit with other students at the school.

“Ella is a beacon of hope and an inspiration to not only Connecticut students and residents, but to individuals across the country. In a charged political climate that is not always tolerant, she has the courage to stand up for basic human rights, and to speak out against the erasure of identities,” said Currey. “Her message that love is love, and her determination to make education safer and more equitable to meet all of her peers’ needs is inspirational and something older generations must listen to.”

I am just so pleased that Ella has the confidence to stand up for something that is so very important to her and her whole family,” said Ella’s father Christopher Briggs. “She is really coming into her own, and the support that she has received not only from the faculty and staff, but also the whole student body of Ana Grace, has been very heartening.”

“Ella is one of the most remarkable young people I have had the pleasure of meeting,” said Currey “I haven’t stopped speaking about her and her candidacy.”

“We are very proud of Ella,” said Phelan.

Currey also spent time talking with other students in the lunch room about Ella’s campaign and their support.

Ella’s campaign speech began, “I am a proud part of the LGBTQ community and I want to make youth programs all around the state, make school clubs, and help with kids who were kicked out of their homes. Together we can make Connecticut a little bit more colorful. With your vote, we can make a stand, make a change, and make a difference. Vote Ella, campaign, Love is Love.”

The CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School’s website is agaaems.crecschools.org


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