Teachers Who Inspire Are Recognized Through Olive Garden’s Essay Writing Contest

ORLANDO, Fla. – Reading, writing and arithmetic — no matter the subject, teachers often leave their mark on students, inspiring them to strive for success and reach their goals. In recognition of teachers across North America, Olive Garden has announced the topic for its 14th-annual Pasta Tales essay writing contest: “Describe a teacher who has inspired you in school and how they have impacted your life.”

Now through Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, Olive Garden’s Pasta Tales contest will give young writers in first- through 12th-grade in the U.S. and Canada the opportunity to share their stories in essays of 50 to 250 words. Pasta Tales entry forms and complete rules are now available at OliveGarden.com and beginning Oct. 26 at local Olive Garden restaurants.

The contest grand prize is a three-day trip to New York City including dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square and a $2,500 savings bond. Winners also will be chosen in each grade category and will receive a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden restaurant.

Pasta Tales entries must include the writer’s name, complete address, phone number with area code, grade, date of birth including year and a statement that the work is their own. Entries must be submitted either online or postmarked by Dec. 11 and sent to Pasta Tales, PMB 2000, 6278 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33308-1916.

Submissions will be judged based on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling by the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa, with finalists selected by Olive Garden.

Since its inception, Olive Garden’s Pasta Tales has provided young people in the communities it serves a way to creatively express the influences, experiences and stories that have shaped their lives. For more information about Pasta Tales, call Katie Lennon at (954) 776-1999, ext. 240 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with 695 restaurants, more than 87,000 employees and $3.3 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI), the world’s largest company-owned and operated full-service restaurant company. For more information, visit Olive Garden’s Web site at http://www.OliveGarden.com.

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