By Dottie Dewberry For the WPT
MABEN — Principal Leonardo Thompson has received news that a West Oktibbeha County High School student has won the essay portion for eighth-graders in the Black History Month contest that is sponsored by Kroger each year. This year’s winner is Haley Ward, the daughter of Fannie and Jimmy Ward of Pheba. Haley is a straight “A” student, and a member of the track team and the junior high basketball squad. She has four sisters and one brother. She is also a Gold Card Member, which is part of WOCHS incentive program. Now, she is a writer. According to Haley, she chose to write on “How Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream of Opportunity for All” had affected her. As I read over her essay, one line stuck out in my mind: “Opportunity is the word of every young child waiting to be heard and discovered by someone who is ready to listen.” Haley did just that: she saw the opportunity to be heard and she succeeded by writing and winning this essay contest. This opportunity was open to all students in grades three through 12, which was divided by grade, and all were competing with students from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas. Haley made the effort to take the opportunity; she did not blow them to the wind. She took the opportunity, she held onto it and she excelled. The honor of winning is in itself gratifying, but it is always good to receive a token of instant gratification like winning a $100 Visa gift card. The town of Maben’s Board of Alderman and mayor; West Oktibbeha County High School’s faculty, students and administration; and the Oktibbeha County Board of Education congratulate you, Haley Ward.