Three students at Fairfield Warde High School are among the top award winners in the “Student Voices” essay contest sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and Connecticut Association of Schools.

Warde winners in the annual contest were: Maya Cromwell, second place; Danielle Altchiler, third, and Maddy Baer, honorable mention. John Diorio, a student at Ridgefield High School, was the first-place winner.

The contest is designed to “engage high school students across Connecticut in developing essays that inspire their peers, educators, administrators and policy makers to think about education differently,” according to a statement from the sponsoring organizations.

Winners of the essay contest were awarded $1,000 for first place, $600 for second, $300 for third and $100 for honorable mention.

The judges rated all essay entries using five criteria: comprehension, organization, conclusions, creativity and writing.

“Students have a unique, first-hand perspective on how to improve Connecticut’s educational system,” Joseph J. Cirasuolo, the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said in a statement. “By providing students with opportunities to share their ideas and recommendations, we hope to enhance the conversations that educators and policy makers are having around education reform and work towards an enhanced learning model that offers optimal opportunities to all students.”