Students Writers Pay Tribute to Influential Elders with Award-Winning Essays


For Immediate Release
February 24, 2012

Contact: Todd Kluss
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Students Writers Pay Tribute to Influential Elders with Award-Winning Essays

Four elementary school students in the Washington, DC, area have been selected as the winners of a writing contest honoring older adults who have inspired them and made a difference in their lives.

The competition was sponsored by the K–12 Committee of the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) — the educational branch of The Gerontological Society of America — with support from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Gerontology Program, the Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center, the George Mason University Department of Social Work and Gerontology Program, Sandra McGuire, EdD, Kelly Niles-Yokum, PhD, and Catherine Tompkins, PhD.

The students and their teacher will be recognized on Saturday, February 24, at 3:30 p.m. in Studio E of the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. This event is part of AGHE’s 38th Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference, which provides a forum for professionals in the field of aging to present their work and share ideas about gerontological and geriatric education and training.

This year’s contest theme was “Bridging the Generations: An Important Older Person in My Life.” The winners are:

1st place: Katie Little for “My Nanie!”
2nd place: Seneca Willen for “Grandma and I”
3rd place: Grace Tompkins for “Nana and Me”
Honorable Mention: Tyler Layton for “Grandma”

All four are students in Leonardo Leonato’s class at Laurel Ridge Elementary School in Fairfax, VA. After reading their essays aloud to a group of AGHE attendees, the inspirational older adults, parents, and school leaders, the winners will be guests of honor at a reception at the Renaissance.

Complete meeting details are available at


The Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) is the educational branch of The Gerontological Society of America, the nation’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. AGHE seeks to advance gerontology as a field of study at institutions of higher education through conferences, publications, technical assistance, research studies, and consultation with policy makers. It is currently the only institutional member organization dedicated to gerontology and geriatrics education worldwide.


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