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First Place

Mason Shockley
Mountaineer Middle School

How does my County Commissioner Make Life Better for me? One day, I was sitting on my front porch when a Cheat Lake fire truck went speeding by with its sirens blaring. From previous knowledge, I knew the Cheat Lake Fire Department was a non-municipal volunteer fire department. That was when I started wondering, who funds these lire departments? Another day. my family and I were at Chestnut Ridge Park sledding through the sparkling snow. Every direction I surveyed, the beautiful park was well maintained. That was when I started thinking, who is responsible for providing these services?

After some research, I learned that the Monongalia County Commission is responsible for these services. I was amazed to see the far reaching impact that the County Commission has on my everyday life. Other than providing fire protection and recreation, the County Commission provides for my safety through funding to the sheriffs department. Since I live outside a municipality, my house is not protected by a city police force. Instead, the sheriff's department is responsible for patrolling the area that I live. Without funding provided by the County Commission, the Sheriff would not have the deputies or resources needed to do this.

The County Commission is not limited to funding the Sheriffs Department, but includes providing the resources for the administration of the courthouse and prosecuting attorney. Without the County Commission, these important departments and positions could not function properly to ensure the citizen's safety. The County Commission also has jurisdictions over wills, allowing citizens to know that their estates will be properly administered upon their deaths. Additionally, the County Commission also implements ordinances for the county. Many laws that have been passed benefit the citizens of Monongalia County greatly. For example, the ordinance that prohibited smoking in county owned and operated properties helped discourage smoking and protect nonsmokers from second hand smoke. These helpful ordinances make Monongalia County a remarkable place to live, allowing it to be one of the fastest growing counties in the state.

In conclusion, the County Commission only consist of three members, but their work impacts daily life and helps create a great county to live in. Their schedules stretch on and their work never stops, which is why citizens should become more aware of the County Commission. A wide variety of skills is needed to be successful as a Commissioner. Planning the budget, maintaining parks, putting ordinances into operation, and funding different organizations are just some of the duties the County Commissioners are responsible for controlling. They work very hard for this county and citizens should too. This is what the County Commission does for me and for you.

April is "National County Government Month" and the County Commissioners’ Association of WV (CCAWV) sponsors an annual contest among the state’s eighth grade students.  Students are asked to answer “How does my county commission make life better for me?” in an essay.

While this is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the many functions of their county commission in depth, a prize of $300 for the best-written essay sweetens the pot for students.  (An additional $300 is awarded to the first-place student’s teacher for encouraging participation, to be used to support classroom activities.)  The second place winner receives $250, and third place gets $150, in addition to recognition by their county commissioners.

April is "National County Government Month" and the County Commissioners’ Association of WV (CCAWV) is hosting our 3rd annual essay contest for 8th grade students across West Virginia.

There will be a monetary prizes for 1st,  2nd, and 3rd place student winners. There will also be a monetary prize for the 1st place winner’s Teacher to be used for classroom activities.  1st Place Student will receive $300 and teacher will receive $300.   2nd place Student - $250 and 3rd place Student - $150. 

One of CCAWV’s goals is to increase information and public awareness about county government and the office of County Commissioner.  As an initiative of this goal we are excited to partner with West Virginia educators to encourage students to learn and write about their local county governing body, the County Commission.  (Teachers, for your convenience, we are attaching our brochure about county commission responsibilities.)

Student participants are asked to type a 500-word essay on the topic.....

"How does my county commission make life better for me?"

Take a class fieldtrip to a county commission meeting!  Ask your county commissioners to come speak to the class!  Find out what your county commission is working on in your county and encourage your students to write about it from the perspective of an 8th grader and why it matters to them.

A committee of commissioners and CCAWV Staff will serve as judges of the contest.  All entries must be emailed by 5:00 pm April 21, 2014 to qualify.  (Please see complete rules attached)

Entries should be emailed to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

First Place

County: Mingo

Teacher’s Name: Mrs. Tanya Slone

Name of School: Burch Middle School

Student’s Name: Aerianna McClannahan

“How does my county government make my life better for me?”

Written by:  Tori Varney 8th Grade
Burch Middle School, Mingo County, WV


Mingo County is the youngest county in West Virginia.  Located in the southern part of the state, Mingo County shares its’ borders with Logan County, McDowell County and Wayne County.  I’m writing to discuss Mingo County’s government and explain what it does for me and all residents of this county.

Kids in America have certain everyday needs.  Needs they don’t recognize from day to day, such as toothpaste, toilet paper, and soap.  Somehow, they are just in appearance whenever the need arises.  While researching our county government, I came across some basic needs that Mingo County supplies that kids, including me, do not recognize.  Our county government supplies essential services as:  water, sanitation, waste management, and emergency services.

To explain my newly found views I have selected three of the aforementioned services provided by our county.  I would like to begin with the water supply.  Everyone needs water.  Water is a renewable resource that is used for both health and hygiene.  Because it is renewable it must be filtered, recycled, and replenished.  Who would be the providers of this service?  You guessed it, the county government.  For a small monthly fee, city water is supplied to the homes and businesses of Mingo County for the wellness of society including members of youth such as myself.

The second item on my list above which is supplied by our county government is waste management.  Once a week, just like clockwork, all of Mingo County is privileged enough to enjoy the weekly visit from the waste management.  This is a service provided by Mingo County to ensure that garbage is deposed of properly instead of polluting our environment with harmful chemicals and bio hazardous waste, as well as everyday household trash.  It’s not just a catchphrase on a sign seen in passing; we desperately need waste management of Mingo County to help “Keep our county clean.”

Last but certainly not least, emergency services.  Our dedicated members of the police department and fire department provide all sorts of daily duties.  The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department puts forth a lot of effort trying “to protect and serve” the citizens of the county.  For instance, our police force works diligently to provide protection against drug activity, theft, reckless driving, and child abuse among many other important things.  Many people teach kids like me to be afraid of the guys in uniform.  On the contrary, we shouldn’t be afraid at all.  Our fire department keeps our fires, which seem to be happening more frequently, down to a minimum.  The citizens of Mingo County are very lucky to have such dedicated volunteers and members.  As law abiding citizens, we should commend their work as they are simply attempting to keep our county safe.

I, as well as every other child in Mingo County, have certain everyday needs which go unrecognized.  We acquire many needs, which are met with the help of the Mingo County government such as water supply, trash removal, and law enforcement.  I would like to say thank you to my Mingo County Government for all they do to ensure well-being for our youth although it often goes unnoticed.  Research on county government has given me a new appreciation for all that it does.

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