POINT PLEASANT — Emma Gibbs, an eighth grade student at Wahama Junior/Senior High School, recently became the county’s first winner of the County Commissioner’s Association (CCA) of West Virginia County Government Essay Contest.
Gibbs won second place in the state competition, and was presented a certificate and check for $250 by Vivian Parsons, executive director of the CCA. The presentation took place at a Mason County Commission meeting, where Gibbs was accompanied by her West Virginia History teacher Catherine Hamm.
The award winner is the daughter of Harold and Teresa Gibbs of Letart. She is a member of the school’s West Virginia History Quiz Bowl Team, and participates in basketball and softball.
The essay contest was held as a part of National County Government Month, with participants writing on the topic, “How does my county commission make life better for me?” Entries were judged on the understanding of the role of the county commission, grammar and spelling, and clarity and organization of thought.
Gibbs’ essay came following a classroom visit from Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley. The student said she didn’t think there was much to learn from Handley regarding the commission, but was proven wrong.
“I am so appreciative that I got to meet him because I learned so much that day, and I soaked in all the information he told us,” Gibbs wrote. “I was so interested in everything he was saying, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.”
Gibbs said she is considering a bid for the office herself someday.
“We complain daily about how the roads are awful or how we need more money,” Gibbs said. “What we don’t think about, though, is how hard it is for the county commission to meet everyone’s needs with their limited budget.”
Handley was complimentary of Gibbs, as well.
“We are proud of Emma for not only submitting her essay, but for being the first Mason County student to win the contest,” Handley stated. “We appreciate Mrs. Hamm taking the time to teach county government to her students, as I’m sure other county schools do the same, and making sure students have the chance of entering the contest if they so desire.”
He added it was also nice to have the CCA executive director at the meeting to make the presentation.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishings, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.