Ariah Zervos, a 6th grade student at Linsly, has been selected by well-known environmental activist Erin Brockovich as the winner of Wheeling’s Water Pollution Control Division’s (WPCD) logo contest.
Zervos was presented with a certificate and a $500 Visa gift card by Mayor Glenn Elliott and City Council during Tuesday’s meeting. Second place went to Lucrezia Santini, a seventh grader from St. Michael’s School while Sydney Burke, an 8th grade student from Wheeling Country Day, placed third. Santini and Burke were also recognized during the meeting and received certificates.
Launched in July 2021, the contest asked Ohio County youth to get creative and assist with a design for new signage at WPCD. Operations Supervisor Mike Chiazza came up with the idea for the contest. He sent a message sharing the details of the contest to Brockovich via her website and received a response the following day. Brockovich gave a shout out to the City’s efforts in her e-newsletter, The Brockovich Report, and agreed to serve as a judge to select a winner.
“Congratulations to the students of Wheeling, West Virginia, on the wonderful artwork you submitted. There are truly no losers here because you all learned about the importance of clean water in your futures. I hope you will grow up to be adults who continue to love the planet and work toward clean water for everyone,” she said.
WPCD personnel served as judges for the first round of the contest, narrowing down the 104 entries to the top 25. Local celebrity judges – Wheeling Councilor Rosemary Ketchum, WTRF 7 Reporter D.K. Wright and WPCD Staffer Amanda Kerns selected the top 10 entries that were then forwarded on to Brockovich to select a winner.
Chiazza said he is excited about the contest and the interest it received.
“Educating today’s youth about clean water and the environment is very important. This contest was one way of bringing awareness to such issues while engaging the youth of our community,” he said. “Getting a younger generation involved in solving water issues can help us get our local waterways cleaned up and, in the future, when today’s youth are adults and leading our country, we will be more environmentally knowledgeable.”