EPB Celebrates Winners of Black History Month Poetry Contest

Chattanooga, TN (March 15, 2017) – EPB, along with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, honored eight Hamilton County students who won top recognition in the company’s 14th Annual Black History Month Poetry Contest by submitting original poetry celebrating the historic contributions made by African Americans who lived and worked in the Chattanooga area.

Students in the 1st through 12th grades submitted hundreds of entries. For 2018, EPB produced five videos featuring interviews with UTC professor Dr. Clark White about the achievements of Chattanooga African Americans during the Jim Crow era. Students were invited to choose a video and write a poem, or for the younger children draw a picture, about what inspired them about the people and events covered in the video they chose.

“Our judges had the difficult task of selecting eight award-winning entries from hundreds of submissions,” said EPB President and CEO David Wade. “These and many outstanding entries demonstrate the passion and insight many students gain from studying local history.”

EPB honored the eight recipients during an awards event on Thursday evening. In addition to the recognition, both the students and their teachers received an award of $100. Here are the winning entries:

1-3 Grades

Naeil'ah Powers, Orchard Knob Elementary/Teacher-Rosalyn Tiller
Bayleigh Evans, East Brainerd Elementary/Teacher-Mrs. Pirtle

4-5 Grades

Ella Nottis, Allen Elementary/Teacher-Ms. Sharp
Brynn Beckstrand, Snow Hill Elementary/Teacher-Ms. Meredith Ziegenmier

6-8 Grades

Ma'lisha Cook, Washington Alternative Learning Center/Teacher- Ms. Goines
Gracie Williams, Home School/Teacher-Ms. Rhonda Williams

9-12 Grades

Fatima Ibarra, Hixson High School/Teacher-Ms. Smith
Claire Pouncey, CSAS/Teacher-Mr. Zach Dragoo

Tenesha Irvin, community leader, sales professional and radio personality, delivered the keynote address, “Continuing the Legacy”.

The EPB Black History Month contest began as an essay competition, but changed four years ago because of the power of poetry to express human emotion through a careful selection of words. Kelvin Boyd, EPB’s “Professor Gig-A-Watt” schools ambassador, coordinates the annual Black History Month Poetry Contest with Hamilton County public, private and home schools, along with parents and judges.

“Each year I am amazed by our student’s ability to celebrate the contributions of African Americans in heartwarming ways that reflect our shared history,” Boyd said.

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.


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