WVa students honored for multicultural, anti-racist projects

By JESSICA WILT, The Journal undefined

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Several Berkeley County students were recognized during the board of education’s recent meeting, each being presented to the board for their efforts in multicultural projects.

Sophie Carpenter, a seventh-grader at Mountain Ridge Middle, was the first to be honored, Carpenter winning the logo contest for Berkeley County’s Multicultural Educators Association.

“This is a group that was formed this past summer to provide a support group for teachers that come from many diverse backgrounds,” Musselman Middle teacher and MCEA co-chair Shayla Brown said. “We wanted a logo that best represented our group and decided to create a contest for students that are a part of Berkeley County Schools.”

Carpenter was one of 30 students to enter the contest, a pool that was narrowed down by county teachers before the co-chairs made the final decision.

As the winner, Carpenter earned an Oculus headset. BCS Associate Superintendent of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Veronique Walker thanked Carpenter for the logo that features the the MCEA abbreviation surrounded by people of numerous races.

The recognitions concluded with Walker presenting Hedgesville junior Alaina Fry and Spring Mills Primary second-grader Reid Boswell to the board, second-place winners in the statewide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Project on Racism contest.

The annual contest honors the life and legacy of King by encouraging the creativity of students across West Virginia on the topic of equality. The contest included essays, five-minute short films and music.

Both Fry and Boswell placed second for their essays, based on the King quote, “We may all have come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Fry won in the Grades 9-12 category, while Boswell won for Grades K-5.

Walker shared a video of Boswell reading his essay, focusing on the joy in everyone being different.

“I can see with my eyes that my skin color is different than others,” he said, “but it doesn’t matter. I don’t mind being a little different. I think it would be boring if everyone looked alike or had the same personality. I like my friends because they are fun and different than me.”

Board President Dr. Bill Queen thanked both of them for their efforts, proud of the work the students across the district do.

“Congratulations to both of you all,” he said. “I know both of you well, and I’m so proud of you all for doing such a wonderful job with this project. It’s amazing what our young students can do and come up with. So proud of you all.”