By Tess Malijenovsky
Mattie Jo Thomas, a Lady’s Island Middle School eighth-grader, won top honors in a statewide competition for her black-and-white photograph, the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee announced this week.
The statewide contest highlighted the committee’s 2020 Vision — that all South Carolina students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to compete in the global economy. Students were asked to write an essay, create a poster or take a photograph in response to the following question: What does education mean to me and my future?
The caption of Mattie Jo’s raw, unedited photograph read: “The world is at my fingertips. Education will determine the course my life takes.”
Mattie’s teachers Lynn Jester and Cadra Rooney coordinated student entries at Lady’s Island Middle. There were 1,076 entries overall from students in schools across South Carolina.
State Rep. Andy Patrick from Beaufort County and Education Oversight Committee Interim Executive Director Melanie Barton presented the award and an iPad courtesy of private donations at a ceremony at the school Tuesday, May 22. Lady’s Island Middle School’s Principal Mona Lise Dickson and Mattie Jo’s parents, Martin and Suzan Thomas, were also there supporting her achievement.
Mattie Jo wrote in describing her winning photo: “Education is the foundation of today’s society. Without proper education, our world wouldn’t be anywhere near what is today. From my perspective, education represents the world which is everything. In order to be my definition of a successful in life, a well and proper education is the key. Education means my dreams, and it shows how the world is at my fingertips. Education will determine the course your life takes.”