Chulmleigh student wins trip to New York to see Ground Zero

Posted on: 28 February 2013

Students at Chulmleigh Community College are hoping to emulate the success of one of their schoolmates by winning a trip to New York.

Georgina Hodgson won a national competition about the 9/11 tragedy.

The competition was organised by the 9/11 London Project which is an educational charity set up to build hope from the tragedy.

The competition was staged for the first time last year and students were asked to write around 1,200 words on how 9/11 changed the world.

Georgina, who is now in Year 11, entered a series of letters to an imagined close friend who had moved to New York and been killed in the attacks.

It was read by actor Kevin Spacey at a special ceremony.

Last September, with five other students, Georgina travelled to New York and is now urging other students in the school to enter this year’s competition which is open to 14 to 16-year-olds.

Georgina says it was the best experience of her life even though they flew into New York in the tail of Hurricane Isaac which was a terrifying experience.

“We had the excitement of visiting the city itself,” she said “ but we were also aware that we were here to raise awareness about and pay tribute to the events of 9/11.

“We were taken to Ground Zero where we were guided around the memorial and the Tribute Centre by a retired fire-fighter, who had lost his son in the attacks.

“During our stay in New York we met some incredible people, including New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and sat in on a New York Times editorial meeting.

“Aside from this we did, of course, visit the iconic landmarks of NYC and have time to explore the many shops that lined the streets of Manhattan.

“As we journeyed from one landmark to the next by subway and the famous yellow taxis, we felt as if we were just scraping the surface of the city. 

“We visited the Statue of Liberty along with the Empire State Building. On the street, it doesn’t look too tall, but on the 89th floor, the city stretches from one skyline to the next. 

“In the evening we visited Times Square, which is definitely the heart of New York, with more flashing billboards than Piccadilly could even dream of.

“As well as seeing a fantastic Broadway show, we were witness to the 9/11 memorial lights that shone high above Manhattan and even wandered through Chinatown.

“As our stay came to an end, we made one last visit to the Stuyvesant High School, where we sat in on several lessons.

“With over 3,000 pupils and ten floors of classrooms, Chulmleigh felt minuscule in comparison.

“After five days in America, I returned to Devon, thankful that I’d had the chance to experience this brilliant city.

“I’d thoroughly recommend entering the competition as I’ve had the best experience of my life in New York.”

A second Chulmleigh Community College student – Hannah Dockings – was also shortlisted from hundreds of entries to the competition.

Chulmleigh headteacher Mike Johnson said: “Georgina’s thoughtful and sensitive work was chosen from thousands of entries.

“We are all very proud of her and congratulate her on this significant achievement.”


Our picture show Georgina with Lee Lelpi, the President of the September 11th Families’ Association NY, in the 9/11 Memorial Garden.

Georgina is featured in a video on the website in the ‘competition’ link.

Follow this link and hear Kevin Spacey reading out Georgina’s winning entry. It starts after 5 minutes:

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Posted in: Education