Essay contest nets IMS student $1,000



December 10, 2010 - 12:00 AM

While still just a seventh-grader at Iola Middle School, Abigail Taylor already has $1,000 tucked away for college.
Taylor earned the $1,000 by winning a statewide essay contest about teachers, in which students were asked to write about a teacher in history.
Taylor picked Annie Sullivan, who worked with Helen Keller.
Taylor was presented the $1,000 check by State Treasurer Dennis McKinney Thursday in front of a schoolwide assembly.
Putting the assembly together, and keeping it a surprise, was an ordeal in itself, IMS Principal Jack Stanley said afterward.
The school received a notice from the state treasurer’s office that Taylor was going to receive the award from McKinney. But schedule conflicts forced the assembly to be postponed until Thursday.
Problem was, a news release had been sent to  media outlets earlier this week.
“We were planning on it being a surprise, but as I drove to work Monday, I heard it on the radio,” Stanley said with a laugh. “So it wasn’t a surprise any more.”
It mattered little to those in attendance Thursday, Stanley said.
A team of drummers serenaded the capacity crowd in the IMS gymnasium prior to McKinney’s presentation to Taylor.
“Any time somebody accomplishes something like this, we love to see it celebrated,” Stanley said.
Learning Quest sponsors the essay contest each year to encourage seventh- and eighth-grade students to take an active role in planning for their educational future.
The Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program was created to help families invest for their child’s education after high school, through college or other schooling programs. Taxpayers can receive a tax deduction of up to $6,000 per child on contributions to Learning Quest or other state-sponsored plan.

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