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Williston student recognized by S.C. Department of Education and Dominion Energy for award-winning essay


The South Carolina Depart­ment of Education (SCDE) and Dominion Energy recognized Williston-Elko High School student Madison Wright and four other students from across the state recently for their outstanding submissions in the fourth annual Strong Men & Women in S.C. ­History ­student writing contest. Winners were selected from each of South Carolina’s five ­regions: Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee, and Upstate.

The contest encourages South Carolina high school juniors and seniors to write a 500-word essay about a different topic annually. This year’s essay was inspired by South Carolinian Mary McLeod Bethune, a renowned educator and civil rights activist from Mayesville, whose legacy of educational entrepreneurship and literacy has made a lasting impact on individuals across the Palmetto State. Bethune once said, “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” Students were asked to write about an African American from South Carolina who has positively impacted their educational journey.

Wright’s essay describes the impact Steven Brown, a fellow native of Williston, had on her educational journey. Wright writes, “The impact of Steven Brown’s vision extends far beyond the confines of the classroom. His mantra, ‘Big dreams come from small places,’ serves as a rallying cry for students like me, propelling us towards the realization of our full potential. Inspired by his unwavering commitment to our community, I am fueled by a fervent desire to pay it forward.”

State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver and Dominion Energy South Carolina President Keller Kissam presented each student with an Apple MacBook Air. Their schools will receive $1,000.

“We are proud to celebrate these five young writers and the noteworthy South Carolinians who have made a lasting impact on their lives,” said Superintendent ­Weaver. “Thank you, ­Madison, Tristan, Karma, Chandler, and Morgan, for taking this initiative to recount your personal stories. With your impressive work ethic and inspiring writing talents, I’m confident your greatest ­chapters are yet to be penned!”

Kissam said, “As I read each essay authored by our honorees today, I developed an even greater appreciation for the contributions of these strong men and women who continue to inspire South Carolinians. I give thanks for these essayists who, through their own words, portray true strength as character that fuels action in service to others.”

The 2024 Strong Men & Women in S.C. History student writing contest winners:
Madison Wright – Williston-Elko High School (CSRA)
Tristan Moeller – Beaufort High School (Lowcountry)
Karma Robinson – Spring Valley High School (Midlands)
Chandler Brandon
J. Paul Truluck Magnet
(Pee Dee)
Morgan Henderson – Mauldin High School (Upstate)
View the winning essays:

About Dominion Energy
About 6 million customers in 15 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to providing reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy every day and to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050. Please visit to learn more.