Forget the red carpet, these Cider Mill School student winners of the annual CT Fire Prevention Poster Contest get the red Fire Engine treatment!

The four winning poster artists were announced and celebrated this morning at Cider Mill, not only with a recognition ceremony but also with the honor of being driven to school in Wilton Fire Engine No. 5. First place winners Annabelle Savarese (5th grade) and Martha Malloy (4th grade), and runners-up Nila Thirumal Kumaran (5th grade) and Saanvi Kakarlapudi (4th grade) arrived to school in style, escorted by Wilton’s bravest.

The girls were universal in their review of the morning ride:  “Awesome!”

Wilton fire marshal Rocco Grosso presented award certificates to the winners, and Wilton Firefighters Local 2233 president David Chaloux gave each of the students Visa gift cards ($100 for first place, $50 for runners-up). They each also received a matchbox toy version of a Wilton fire truck.

According to art teacher Michael Gallulo, the four artists had to impress the most discerning judges of all–the Wilton firefighters themselves. “They knew their audience. These were chosen by the firemen, and these were the firemen’s favorites,” he said. Along with Gallulo, the school’s two other art teachers, Caroline Duggan and Michele Montanaro, facilitate the program at Cider Mill.

Gallulo said the contest is a big deal each year among the students, who get very excited about it. Approximate 60-70 students submitted entries they designed at the beginning of December. “We’ve had kids asking for a couple of months, ‘When are we going to find out?'”

Each year, the annual, statewide competition announces a theme to inspire 4th and 5th graders in Connecticut to create a poster to promote awareness of fire prevention responsibilities to both children and adults. This year’s contest theme was “Fire Prevention–Everyone/Everyday.”

Posters created by 1st place winners on the local level will be submitted to the county‐wide competition; winners of the county competition are then considered at the state level. Last year, approximately 30,000 entries were submitted throughout the state.

The contest is sponsored by the Connecticut Fire Marshals’ Association, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Connecticut Fire Chiefs’ Association, State Board of Education and the Connecticut FAIR Plan (representing the insurance industry).

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