Water Essay Contest Winners Honored at State Capitol

(Atlanta, December 21, 2016) – Students Emma Clyburn and Madelyn Wortel took home the top honors in the 2016 Middle School Essay Contest for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District).

Ms. Clyburn, an eighth-grader at Lanier Christian Academy in Hall County, was the district-wide first place essay winner, and Ms. Wortel, an eighth grader at South Forsyth Middle School in Forsyth County, was the district-wide runner-up. The annual contest challenges students to think critically about protecting and conserving water resources in the metro Atlanta region.

2016 marks the 15th year of the Metro Water District Essay Contest. The contest invites sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the City of Atlanta and Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties to participate in the contest.

Winners were honored with a reception at the Georgia State Capitol on December 14. Winners selected from each county received prizes of $100, and the first place winner received an additional $400. Over 1700 students participated in this year’s contest.

Essay Topic – Water Conservation
This year, middle school students were asked to write a 300-500 word essay on the topic: Why is water conservation important to you and to our region?

The winning essay by Ms. Clyburn drew on her experience living in another country: “For four and a half years my family and I lived in Swaziland where water was considered something very precious and not something taken for granted,” said Ms. Clyburn. And Ms. Wortel, in her essay, focused on small steps that can make a big difference. “Small changes made on a daily basis to conserve water will ensure our water supply is abundant in the future,” said Ms. Wortel.

“Choosing the contest winners is always a challenge because all of the essays display a genuine awareness about the importance of water conservation,” said Kostoula Vallianos, principal education program specialist with the Metro Water District. “This year’s essays were particularly timely since the region is experiencing a drought that has resulted in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division declaring a Level 2 Drought Response.”

The annual essay contest is one of many educational outreach initiatives conducted by the Metro Water District to raise awareness about the region’s conservation efforts and the importance of the preservation of water quality in metro Atlanta. To learn more, visit My Drop Counts for tips on what you can do to conserve water and the Clean Water Campaign to learn how you can help prevent stormwater pollution.


2016 Essay Contest Winners
Jurisdiction Name Grade School
City of Atlanta Marcus Johnson 7 Inman Middle School
Bartow County Tristan Collins 6 South Central Middle School
Cherokee County Carter MacDonald 7 Mill Creek Middle School
Clayton County Ariel Henderson 8 North Clayton Middle School
Cobb County  Katherine Barrios 6 Barber Middle School
Coweta County Thomas Becker 6 Madras Middle School
DeKalb County  Gray Hamby 6 Renfroe Middle School
Douglas County Victoria Toups 8 Harvester Christian Academy
Fayette County Tito Alofe 6 Rising Starr Middle School
Forsyth County and District Runner-up Madelyn Wortel 6 South Forsyth Middle School
Fulton County Sadie Howard 7 Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School
Gwinnett County  Jackson Spooner 8 North Gwinnett Middle School
Hall County and District-wide winner Emma Clyburn 8 Lanier Christian Academy
Henry County Sierra Riley 8 Woodland Middle School
Paulding County Maria Maldonado 6 J.A. Dobbins Middle School
Rockdale County Kennedy Williams 8 Memorial Middle School


About the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District):

The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District is dedicated to developing comprehensive regional and watershed-specific water resources plans to be implemented by local governments in the 15-county metro Atlanta region, which includes Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties. These plans conserve public water supplies, protect water quality and recreational values of the waters and minimize potential adverse impacts of development on waters in and downstream of the region.

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