WVSD Earns Top Honors At District Optimists International Communication Contest

March 28, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - What is a hero in your mind? Is it a soldier? Is it a teacher or a doctor? Students at the West Virginia School for the Deaf (WVSD) know the strength of a hero.  

Fifteen students from the school participated in the school’s communication contest in early March where they wrote to the theme “My hero is…” The three winners at the school level were fourth grader Janna Hardinger, of Augusta, W.Va., sixth grader Shawna Weatherholt, of Shanks, W.Va., and sixth grader Amber Williams, of Belle, W.Va.  

Optimist Club
WV School for the Deaf students Shawna Weatherholt, Janna Hardinger and Amber Williams

Williams wrote that the American Voter was her hero, citing that one person does not decide for everyone and that as Americans “we are lucky that we are free.” Hardinger said that Emergency Medical Technicians are her heroes because of the help they provide to injured people in critical situations. Teachers are Weatherbolt’s heroes because of the academic foundation they build for successful lives.  

All three went on to deliver their presentations at the Kentucky/West Virginia District of the Optimists International Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Charleston earlier this month. Williams earned second place honors and won a $1,500 college scholarship, while Hardinger earned a $100 savings bond.  

“We are so extremely proud of these girls,” said West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind (WVSDB) Superintendent Jane McBride. “All three girls did well and were fine representatives of school.”  

For more information about the WVSDB, visit, or contact the school at (304) 822-4800.

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