Young writers, speaker gain Brooke school board honors

WELLSBURG – The winners of three contests testing youth’s skill at public speaking and writing and a teacher selected to participate in a space camp received kudos from the Brooke County Board of Education on Monday.

Suzanne Davidson, a teacher at Hooverson Heights Primary School, will attend the Honeywell Educators Space Academy in Huntsville, Ala. in June.

During the five-day program, Davidson will participate in simulations of astronaut training and other activities aimed at helping teachers to incorporate concepts related to space exploration in teaching science and math.

The program is supported by Honeywell International, a major engineering and aerospace firm based in Morristown, N.J., and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, a museum operated by the state of Alabama showcasing rockets and other artifacts from the U.S. space program.

Superintendent of Schools Kathy Kidder said she is excited about the unique learning experience Davidson has received and proud of her past efforts to further her knowledge of education and her subject area.

The board also recognized local winners of the West Virginia Young Writers Contest. Held by the Central West Virginia Writing Project at Marshall University and the West Virginia Department of Education, participating students may write about any subject but must meet certain length requirements based on their grade level.

Diane Rasz, a teacher at Wellsburg Middle School who coordinates it locally, said state winners will be named in the near future and recognized in Charleston later this month.

The local winners wrote about a variety of topics, from the fact-based to the fanciful and including trips to Morocco and Myrtle Beach, “My Adventure on the Moon” and “If I Were a Snow Globe.”

Award recipients for each grade were:

Grades 1-2: Kavossy Lugo of Colliers Primary School, first place; and Owen Totten and Sophia Hannaoui, both of Millsop Primary School, second and third, respectively.

Grades 3-4: Ethan Robey and Carter Hosler, both of Colliers Primary School, first and second, respectively, and Morgan Roadman of Franklin Primary School, third place.

Grades 5-6: Emily Donley and Aleksey Rasz, both of Wellsburg Middle School, first and second, respectively; and Abigail Hair of Follansbee, third place.

Grades 7-8: Leila Hannaoui of Wellsburg Middle School, first place; Alanna Cervenak of Follansbee Middle School, second place; and Kate James of Wellsburg Middle School, third place.

Grades 9-10: Samantha Foresha of Brooke High School.

Grades 11-12: Michelle Woodstuff of Brooke High School.

The board also honored winners of an essay contest held locally by the Wellsburg Elks Lodge. The contest challenged youth to write about what “The Star-Spangled Banner” means to them.

The local recipients are Michaela Mahan, Talon Chambers and Aleksey Rasz, all of Wellsburg Middle School, who placed first, second and third, respectively.

Robyn Heaton, the trio’s teacher, said their essays will be entered into a statewide contest. Last year two of Heaton’s pupils, Ashley Eby and Austin Guiller, were state winners and were recognized at a banquet in Charleston.

Recognition also was given to Brooke County pupils who were top finishers of the Gettysburg Address speech contest held by the Brooke County Commission. Both are pupils at Wellsburg Middle School. They are A.J. Mitchell, who placed second; and Emily Donley, who placed third.

Heaton served as coach for the two and other Wellsburg Middle School pupils in the event.

Andrea Alimario of St. Joseph School in Weirton placed first in the competition, which involved sixth-graders at four public and private schools.

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