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Williamstown High School receives voters registration award

Photo by Michael Erb West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner speaks to Williamstown High School seniors Wednesday prior to presenting the school with the Jennings Randolph Award for having 100 percent of WHS’ eligible students registered to vote.

WILLIAMSTOWN — West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner on Wednesday presented Williamstown High School with the Jennings Randolph Award for having 100 percent of its eligible students registered to vote.

Williamstown High is one of only 20 West Virginia schools to receive the award this year.

Warner addressed WHS seniors prior to presenting the award, speaking about West Virginia’s efforts to make voting more accessible to soldiers serving overseas, the dangers of Russian propaganda and hacking to the nation’s democracy and how voters can help improve their communities.

Warner told students registering to vote is only the first step in the process.

“The second step is to go out and vote,” he said. “The third step is to get involved in a campaign. Or the fourth step: Run for office.”

Photo by Michael Erb Williamstown High School civics teacher Conrad Blackburn holds the Jennings Randolph Award for WHS having 100 percent of its eligible students registered to vote. Williamstown High was one of only 20 high school in the state to receive the award this year.

A plaque was presented to WHS civics teacher Conrad Blackburn, who organized the voter registration drive and encouraged students to register to vote.

Principal Jason Ward said Wednesday marked the first time the school has received the award.

The Jennings Randolph Award is presented to schools with 100 percent of their eligible students registered to vote. The late U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph is celebrated as the father of the 26th Amendment, which reduced the voting age from 21 to 18. Although the amendment was introduced 11 times, it didn’t pass until 1971.

The Jennings Randolph Award was a legislative initiative first awarded to high schools during the 1993-94 school year under former Secretary of State Ken Hechler. The 2018-19 school year marks the award’s 25th anniversary.

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