EPB Honors Winners of 2017 Black History Month Poetry Contest


Chattanooga, TN (March 20, 2017)– EPB honored eight Hamilton County students who celebrated the legacies and achievements of African Americans with original poetry that won top honors in the company’s 13th Annual Black History Month Poetry Contest.

Students in the first through 12th grades in public and private schools, as well as home schooled children, were encouraged to write poetry about an African American person or group that inspired them to make history themselves. With 141 entries received, it was noted that a recurring theme was about love and its power to overcome acts of hate.

“EPB is proud to have the opportunity to inspire young people to celebrate the important achievements of African Americans,” said EPB president David Wade. “Our Black History Month contest began as an essay competition, but we changed that three years ago because of the power of poetry to express human emotion through a careful selection of words."

Each of the eight winners was honored at a banquet Thursday evening and received a $100 prize, as did their teachers:

1-3 Grades

Ella Nottis, Allen Elementary; Teacher, Mrs. Rigsby

River Thee-Slaven, Middle Valley Elementary; Teacher, Mrs. Wolfe

4-5 Grades

Isabella Ervin, Smith Elementary; Teacher, Mrs. Holland

Gracie Williams, TN Cyber Academy; Teacher, Shannon Spath

6-8 Grades

Jonas Mull, The McCallie School ; Teacher, Ms. Barber

Alex Williams, The McCallie School; Teacher, Ms. Barber

9-12 Grades

David Horne, The McCallie School; Teacher, Sam Currin

Ryan Huynh, The McCallie School; Teacher, Sam Currin

Stacy Lightfoot, Public Education Foundation vice president, delivered the keynote address for the evening which highlighted the celebrated artistic and literary achievements of Maya Angelou.

Kelvin Boyd, EPB’s community relations specialist, coordinates the annual Black History Month Poetry Contest with Hamilton County public, private and home schools, along with parents and judges. “Their effort is very heartwarming, and it gives me the sense that kids are going in the right direction in terms of comprehension of their studies, grasping the aspects of writing and communicating emotion through writing,” said Boyd.

About EPB

Established as an independent board of the City of Chattanooga in 1935, EPB is a municipally-owned utility that provides electric power and fiber optic communications services as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life across the local area.

EPB serves more than 170,000 homes and businesses in a 600 square-mile area that includes greater Chattanooga, as well as parts of surrounding counties and areas of North Georgia.

In 2010, EPB became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network that provides access to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first, and to date, only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.

EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid. For more information, go to EPB.com.


March 20, 2017


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