By Bob Fleenor
Thanks to the efforts of three talented high school seniors, Read Aloud West Virginia (RAWV) was presented a $1,000 check on April 10, 2018 by the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council Fund.
The students—Jaelin Cochran and Maria Sobinovsky of Hedgesville High, and Noah Slack from Martinsburg High—were selected the overall winners from among seven teams of students who took part in the Berkeley County Schools Leadership Academy.
Jaelin, Maria, and Noah selected Read Aloud West Virginia for their leadership project. Over the course of the school year, they devoted long hours to researching RAWV and in April presented a “pitch” on the organization’s behalf to a panel of judges. The Berkeley County Chapter Board members were told that five of the six judges selected their presentation as the very best.
Thanks to the generosity of United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, the other five nonprofits (Berkeley County Humane Society, Berkeley Senior Citizens, Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle, Habitat for Humanity, and Horses with Hearts) on whose behalf student teams competed each received $300 grants. Additionally, all 20 students who took part in the competition were awarded $350 scholarships!
Berkeley Chapter Board Member, Bob Fleenor, says: “This unexpected windfall is a testament not only to the students’ hard work, but to the efforts of each of you (staff and board members) and all our volunteers who touch the lives of thousands of local students and make Read Aloud a program worthy of inspiring our next generation of leaders.”
Bob Fleenor is a retired journalist and currently a Read Aloud Berkeley County Chapter Board member.