CONCORD, NH – Andrew Cummings showed his pride for his home state of New Hampshire – and his fiancée ended up getting her wedding dress paid for because of it.
Cummings, 31, of Derry won the $1,000 grand prize in the “What’s Your 603?” video contest sponsored by the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH). The land surveyor is getting married in July and said the money will help offset the expenses, including the cost of his fiancée’s wedding dress.
New Hampshire’s community colleges asked people throughout the state to share their stories of what New Hampshire means to them. The winning videos were determined through social media support on Facebook.
In addition to the grand prize of $1,000, there were prizes of $750 for second place and $250 for third place.
Cummings topped 1,000 votes to win the contest by more than 300 votes.
“We shared the video on Facebook with our friends and family a couple of times and it started to spread,” Cummings says. “I was checking every day to see where I was.”
Cummings said he originally saw an ad for the contest on Facebook and saw it again a few days later on Instagram.
“It seemed like it would be fun to do,” Cummings says. “It gave me a chance to look through all our photos.”
Shannon Reid, communications director for CCSNH, says retaining young people is a priority in New Hampshire and the contest was a way to share the stories of why people think this is a great place to live, work, and go to school.
Cummings, who grew up in Lebanon, is one of those people. He had lived in Massachusetts for five years and says, “I wanted to get back to New Hampshire. I love it here.”
The contest is part of the system’s ongoing “College in the 603” campaign to engage high school students considering their next step, including college and pathways to great jobs. New Hampshire’s community colleges offer more than 200 associate degree and certificate programs at their seven main campuses and various academic centers throughout the state.
The Community College System of New Hampshire is a public system of higher education consisting of seven independent colleges, plus local academic centers. CCSNH serves over 28,000 learners annually and 93 percent of students are New Hampshire residents. CCSNH offers over 80 associate degree programs, plus over 120 short-term certificate programs and specialized training, all designed to prepare students for today’s job market and/or for successful college transfer.