ASHTON — This year, a local high school’s staff and students were recognized for their accomplishment of registering 100 percent of eligible students to vote.
This month, Secretary of State Mac Warner, Field Services Director Matt Gallagher, and Field Representative Dave Gilpin visited Hannan Junior/Senior High School to present the staff and students with a Jennings Randolph Award. This award is presented to schools who have 100 percent of their eligible students registered to vote.
“The Jennings Randolph Award is a great way to recognize schools for all their efforts leading to the civic engagement of our young people,” Warner said. “Getting eligible voters of all ages involved and registered so they can take part in the election process is very important.”
Sumer Hughes, senior at Hannan Junior/Senior High School, was the student who took initiative and worked to register 33 of her fellow classmates to vote.
Earlier this year, Hughes, who is an Inspired Leader with Inspire WV, was selected to be a fellow in a national fellowship program called 22×20, which is through the organization Inspire WV.
By receiving this fellowship, Hughes was able to bring an event to her school which helped her classmates understand, engage with, and create their own voices in the news, while also registering them to vote.
The late U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph, born and raised in Harrison County, is celebrated as the father of the 26th Amendment, which reduced the voting age from 21 to 18. Although the amendment was introduced 11 times beginning in 1942, it did not pass until 1971.
The Jennings Randolph Award was a legislative initiative first awarded to high schools during the 1993-94 school year under then West Virginia Secretary of State Ken Hechler. The 2018-19 school year marks the award’s 25th anniversary of the award.
“I am honored that our school received this award,” said Dr. Karen Oldham, Hannan principal. “I am very proud of all of our accomplishments here at Hannan. We have a lot to be proud of and our students were super excited.”
Erin Perkins contributed to this article.