Soil and Water Conservation District honors contest winners
The efforts of 23 local students paid off Feb. 20 when they were rewarded with cash prizes and trophies during Awards Night, an annual event hosted by the Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District. The event, held at the Regional High Tech Center, was the culmination of five contests offered each winter to students in grades three through nine. Four hundred and thirty-two students representing eight schools and one home school participated in this year’s contests.
Elementary students draw posters while sixth graders can choose to write an essay, create a slide show presentation, or do both. A computer-designed poster contest is available for ninth graders, but the contest requiring the most courage is, undoubtedly, the speech contest for seventh and eighth graders. While the other contests have been judged prior to Awards Night, speech contestants have the opportunity to compete in front of anaudience and a panel of judges during the first part of the evening.
The contests have a soil or water-related theme that is set by the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, ensuring that students who participate in the contests as they go through their school years accumulate a good deal of knowledge about soil and water. This year’s theme was “The Living Soil.” Most of the 96 districts in the state offer the contests, meaning that Haywood students can — and often do — advance all the way to state competition with the potential for earning $300. Two students won first place in the contests sponsored by the Area 1 Association of SWCDs. Cecelia Tucker, a seventh grader at Canton Middle School, and Gabriel Frazier, a freshman at Pisgah High School, will compete in the state contests in May.
Students were not the only ones who received recognition during Awards Night. Sharon Flowe, an environmental science teacher at Tuscola High School, was named Conservation Education Teacher of the Year.
The following is a list of the winners.
In the third-grade poster contest, first place was Lily Turner of Bethel Elementary; second place was Rylee Melton of Bethel Elementary; third place was Faith Ashe of Bethel Elementary; and an Honorable Mention was Dawson Reeves of Bethel Elementary.
In the fourth-grade poster contest, first place was Juan Chavez of Central Elementary; second place was Carson Suriano of Central Elementary; third place was Shelby Conner of Central Elementary; and an Honorable Mention was Mauricio Mendoza of Central Elementary.
In the fifth-grade poster contest, first place was Dominic Thornton of Clyde Elementary; second place was Brandon Thompson of Junaluska Elementary; third place was Alex Swanger of Clyde Elementary; and an Honorable Mention was Madison Weaver of Junaluska Elementary.
In the sixth-grade essay contest, first place was Kennan Sanders-Huskison of Waynesville Middle School; second place was Zachary Sanner of Waynesville Middle Schools; third place was Isabella Streeter, home school student; and an Honorable Mention was Robert Super of Waynesville Middle School.
In the sixth-grade slideshow contest, first place was Sidney Gaddy, of Canton Middle School.
In the seventh-grade speech contest, first place was Cecelia Tucker of Canton Middle School; and second place was Sarah Swaim of Waynesville Middle School.
In the eighth-grade speech contest, first place was Natalie Swaim of Waynesville Middle School; and second place was Daniel Ross of Waynesville Middle School.
In the ninth-grade computer-design poster contest, first place was Gabriel Frazier of Pisgah High School; and second place was Holly Warren of Haywood Early College.
Gail Heathman is a certified environmental educator and education coordinator with Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District.