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2 New England College students win national award

Union Leader Correspondent

March 20. 2014 9:02PM

HENNIKER — Two New England College students have won a national award that is part of the Project Pericles Debating for Democracy National Conference, the college announced Wednesday.

Students from member colleges and universities researched, developed and advocated their opinions and positions on current public policy issues. It includes a Letters to an Elected Official competition in which students submit letters proposing innovative solutions to a wide variety of issues.

New England College students Martina Cohran and Mariel Rheingold won for a letter they wrote to U.S. Representative Ann M. Kuster, D-N.H., on the issue of early childhood education.

Their letter began, “We urge you to support and sponsor the House of Representatives (H.R.) Bill 1041…. This bill aims to set a national standard for early childhood education, improve focus on individuals by lowering class sizes and improving student-teacher ratios. The bill also aims to set higher standards and qualifications for teachers while allowing easier access to early childhood education for disadvantaged and Native American students.”

Other letters submitted to the competition related to issues ranging from African American youth incarceration, education finance reform and human trafficking, and were sent to elected officials throughout the United States.

Six winners from the 29 member colleges were chosen.

“We’re very proud that our students were among the winners (because) there are some very talented students in all of these colleges” said New England College President Michele Perkins.

New England College is a founding member of the prestigious program that is by invitation only, she said.

Philanthropist Eugene M. Lang founded Project Pericles in 2001. He also founded the I Have Dream Foundation.

Finalists in the competition received a cash award of $250 to apply to an engaged learning project, and the winners will receive $500 to apply to work toward the issue.

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