The Disability History Essay Contest is a partnership with the WV State Rehabilitation Council and the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services that coincides with WV Disability History Week and is open to all WV high school seniors. This contest is designed to provide WV high school seniors with an opportunity to showcase their writing skills, share what they have learned about disability issues in their community, use their ability to form and express opinions, and perhaps to earn some money!
This special edition of our newsletter includes all the winning essays, photos of the authors, and a bit of information to help you get to know these students. In addition to the award certificate, the authors of the winning essays received an engraved personalized key chain and a check for the amount of their award as follows:
Congratulations to all the winners! I hope this contest continues to motivate high school seniors to not only submit an entry, but to learn more about disability history and how the disability rights movement has changed our world and our lives.
Awards are presented to students at their High School Senior Awards Ceremonies. The winners and their essays are published each year in our Special Edition Newsletter.
The 2023 State Winner of $3250 is Lingjian Zheng, a graduate of Parkersburg South High School.
Lingjian Zheng is a senior at Parkersburg High School. He started his high school career at Parkersburg South High School with English as his second language. He was an active member of the National Honor Society and the STARS community service group. He competed in Math Field Day and was recognized as a regional and state winner. As an active member of the National Honor Society, he assisted the American Red Cross with its blood drive Mr. Zheng plans to attend WVU in the fall and major in biology. His aim is to expand the border of science through his future involvement in frontier research.
Lingjian's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2023 Special Edition Newsletter.
2023 State Winner - Lingjian Zheng
The 2022 State Winner of $3250 is Mattelyn Lamp, a graduate of St. Mary's High School.
Hello, my name is Mattelyn Lamp. I am a senior at St. Marys High School, a member of West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s Early College program, the ACT 30 Club, National Honor Society, and I am the historian of SMHS’s NHS chapter. I am also a program double completer at Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Institute for both Graphic Design and Multimedia Publishing, a member of National Technical Honor Society, and a MOVTI Student of the Quarter. I was a member of the SMHS Marching Band and Concert Band for three years and was the drum captain for 2 years. In addition, I have been a member of the SMHS Art Club all 4 years of high school.
After I graduate high school, I plan to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Media Communications from West Liberty University and work in television and media production.
Mattelyn's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2022 Special Edition Newsletter.
2022 State Winner - Mattelyn Lamp
The 2021 State Winner of $3250 is Hannah Casey, a graduate of Charleston Catholic High School. While there, she was a member of the varsity volleyball and varsity softball teams all four years, serving as team captain for both teams her senior year. She also earned a spot as a North-South All-Star for both sports and was elected as a member of the 2nd Team All State for volleyball.
Outside of school, Hannah has been a Girl Scout for 14 years, where she has earned her Silver Award. She has also spent hundreds of hours doing volunteer work for organizations such as Backpack Blessings and the Student Conservation Association.
Hannah plans to attend DePaul University in Chicago, IL where she has been accepted into their 3 + 3 BA/JD program. She is planning to major in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies as she works to obtain her law degree. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, journaling, and spending time with her friends.
Hannah's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2021 Special Edition Newsletter.
2021 State Winner - Hannah Casey
The 2017 State Winner of $3000 is Lydia Andlinger Beane, is a graduate of The Linsly School in Wheeling, WV. She was a four-year varsity cheerleader and served as team captain for the Cadets’ varsity tennis team for two years, leading them to victory in 3 consecutive Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) championships. She also served 2 years as manager for the hockey team for two years.
Lydia consistently landed on the Headmaster’s Performance List and made academic honors. Her takes a rigorous academic curriculum included several Advanced Placement courses. She was a member of the Key Club, S.A.D.D. Club, and the Drug-Free Clubs of America.
Lydia volunteers for the area’s annual C3 Soccer Camp, Wheeling Hospital and The Center for Pediatrics, a local pediatric rehabilitation center. She also assists with young children’s tennis clinics. Additionally, she works part-time at The Wheeling Coffee Shoppe.
Lydia plans to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has been accepted into the Direct Freshman Admit Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at Duquesne, and plans to pursue a career as a pediatric physical therapist. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, baby sitting, shopping and spending time with her family and friends.
Lydia's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2018 Special Edition Newsletter.
2017 State Winner - Lydia Andlinger
The 2016 State Winner of $3000 is Lindsey Grace Beane, a graduate of Hurricane High School, is active in her school and community through many clubs, organizations, pageantry and dance. She is an active participant of the National Honor Society, DECA club, Key club and founding member of the Students Against Destructive Decision Club (SADD).
When not studying, she enjoys spending her time promoting her platform; Defy Disability: Put People First, which has been a passion of hers. She has provided education both in state and out of state through pageantry through the years. She is the current reigning America’s National Teenager which has allowed her to travel across the nation to spread awareness about. She will be attending West Virginia University pursuing a degree in nursing.
Lindsey's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2017 Special Edition Newsletter.
2016 State Winner - Lindsey Grace Beane
The 2015 State Winner of $3000 is Blake Huffman, a senior at Winfield High School where he currently has a 3.9 GPA. During his high school years, he has been involved with the General Admission Show Choir, the Marching Generals, the Boys Soccer team, Fuel Bible Club, FCA, National Honor Society, Link Crew, and the Spanish Honorary Society. He is an active member of youth group at Teays Valley Baptist Church and works with the Highways & Hedges Bus Ministry and sings in both the adult and youth choirs. Blake is also an Eagle Scout and was selected as a delegate for Mountaineer Boys State. Blake has logged over 300 community service hours since beginning high school.
Blake was diagnosed with Dyslexia his junior year and has worked with the Teays Valley office of WV Division of Rehabilitation. He is extremely excited to be chosen as the 2015 Disability History Essay Contest winner and is very thankful for the opportunity to apply and the funds made available for college.
Blake's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2016 Special Edition Newsletter.
2015 State Winner - Blake Huffman
The 2014 State Winner of $2000 is Mason Ryck, a 2015 graduate of Robert C. Byrd High School. Born July 17, 1997 in Augusta, GA, he is the youngest of two siblings, Travis (23), whom resides in Texas and Taylor (20) of Arizona.
Mason loves to play lacrosse, picking up the game from his Native American heritage, the Iroquois Mohawks in Canada. He also enjoys boxing and MMA. Mason plans to attend college in Arizona and will be working with his father in industrial construction this summer after graduation.
Mason's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2015 Special Edition Newsletter.
2014 State Winner - Mason Ryck
2014 Disability History Essay Contest Winners
“Discuss the opportunities for people with disabilities that have evolved from the Disability Rights Movement”
The 2013 State Winner of $2000 is Alexandra Nicole Rundle from East Fairmont High School. She attends WVU studying Pre-Forensics and is holding a 3.0 GPA. She continues to volunteer in her community on several venues.
Alexandra is a part time student worker at WVU in the Career services office where she assists students with a variety of needs including referrals to the disability services office.
Alexandra's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2014 Special Edition Newsletter.
2013 State Winner - Alexandra Nicole Rundle
The 2012 State Winner of $2000 is Heidi Dennison from Nicholas County High School.
Heidi's essay is below along with the other winning essays in our 2013 Special Edition Newsletter.
2012 State Winner - Heidi Dennison
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