Rutledge Middle Schoolers win essay contest

Bethany Gibbs and David Garcia received iPads for writing the winning essays in the John Gamble Essay Contest, administered by Walters State Community College. From left are Dr. Tony Miksa, president of the college; Edwin Jarnagin, director of schools; Gibbs; Lynn Jones, principal of Rutledge Middle School; Garcia; and David Hayes, president of the Walters State Foundation.

Two Rutledge Middle School students have earned new iPads – and possibly much more – in the John Gamble Essay Contest, administered by Walters State Community College.

Essays written by Bethany Gibbs and David Garcia were chosen out of all the submissions from three Grainger County middle schools.

In addition to the iPad, Gibbs and Garcia will also receive a $3,000-per-year scholarship should they decide to attend Walters State after high school. The two were celebrated at a luncheon held earlier this month on the college’s Morristown Campus.

Gibbs is in the eighth grade and is the daughter of Duane and Alvia Gibbs. Garcia is in the seventh grade and is the son of David Garcia and Maria Alvarado.

The essay competition was established in honor of the late John Gamble. A Morristown native, Gamble had successful careers as a newspaper reporter, an aid to a Tennessee governor and a Hollywood agent and producer. He was also a speechwriter for the late Sen. Herbert Walters, for whom the college is named. Gamble attributed his success to the fact that as a young boy he read an entire set of encyclopedias cover to cover. By age 12, he had begun corresponding with over 40 world leaders. The letters were so well written that those corresponding with him did not realize that they were writing to a young boy.

As an adult, Gamble wanted the young people from this area to learn about the world beyond East Tennessee and to contribute to it. Walters State was chosen to administer an encyclopedia endowment fund. In the beginning, the fund awarded essay winners complete sets of encyclopedias. Now, iPads are awarded so students can access the encyclopedia information and much more.

The essay contest is held in a different county in the college’s service area each year on a rotating basis.