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CHAMPIONING CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, pictured third from right, met with several Green Street Arts Center students, law enforcement officers and Wesleyan faculty and staff June 2 at GSAC, where he was awarded the "Champion for Children" award for his efforts supporting early childhood education. The award was presented by members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids - a nationwide crime prevention organization of more than 4,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors, including 42 members in Connecticut. Also pictured, from left, are Sonia BasSheva Ma˝jon, vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships; Eric Figueroa, 15; City of Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano; Taiya Gardner, 10; Eric Qiniones, 14; Hardlyn Joseph, 14; and Daniel Russel, 16.

Peter Patton, professor of earth and environmental sciences and former GSAC Advisory Board member, speaks to Senator Dodd and local law enforcement officials about the art center's history and Wesleyan's involvement.
Student Eric Figueroa; Patricia Sotarello, GSAC Afterschool and Summer Program Coordinator; and Jessica Carso, GSAC associate director and director of development, listen to Senator Dodd speak. The five-term senator was honored for his early childhood education initiatives, such as the Head Start program. Dodd is a prominent member of the powerful Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Chairman of the Children and Families Subcommittee, which oversees early education legislation.
Senator Dodd talks to Taiya Gardner and Hardlyn Joseph about their current summer youth program, Documentary Filmmaking: Over the Big Top, Behind the Scenes of the Oddfellows (Playhouse) Circus. 
Senator Dodd, Patton, Ma˝jon and Giuliano tour classrooms inside the GSAC following the awards ceremony.
Teiya Gardner documents the event as part of her film class. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)