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Wilma Dykeman Prize for Essay Writing 2009 winners

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TCWN is proud to announce the 2009 Winners of the Dykeman Prize

Leigh Stanfield, 2009 Dykeman Prize Winner
17 and Under

Wow, where to begin? Since this is a mini-biography, I suppose I should probably write a little bit about myself (ironically, my least favorite subject). Seeing as how my creativity tends to flee at the mere mention of an autobiography, and doesn’t seem to be in the mood to change its ways today, I’ll go the well-paved route of the basics. According to my birth record, my name is Morgan Leigh Stanfield. Due to an incident involving a dictionary, the nickname “Morgue”, and a horrified fifth-grader (myself), I now go by Leigh.
I am currently 15, going on 16, and was born April 11th, 1994 right here in our great state of Tennessee. I’m actually the youngest of pair, with my twin sister, Meagan, thirteen minutes my senior. On that note, I have an older brother as well, but he’s got six years on me. His name is Andee, and according to those who are blessed (or cursed?) enough to know the both of us, we’re more alike than my twin and I.
So now that we have all of the technical stuff out of the way, I guess it’s time to go onto bigger and better things. So…some things that I like. I have to say that my favorite activity at the moment is definitely writing, as strange as that sounds. Poems, short stories, and even a book or two, anything really that involves putting words together. I actually think I spent at least half of last summer working on (and eventually finishing) my first book, topping it out at 207 pages.
Then again, I’d say that the activity that maybe even ties with my love for writing is speaking, or, more specifically, arguing. I enjoy (almost) every sort of verbal judo I can engage myself in, sometimes to the chagrin of those around me – my parents especially.
After that, there’s music. I like listening to it, and I like playing it. As of right now, I can play bassoon and clarinet, and I can pluck my way through a bass guitar on a good day. I sit first chair bassoon in the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences (my high school) Symphonic Band, and I’m loving every second of it.
I play some sports, namely tennis and volleyball. Sadly, my participation in them kind of tapered off due to what I guess you could call medical issues. It’s not as serious as that makes it sound, it just took one of my hands out of commission for a bit, and I haven’t really worked back into it. I’m getting there though. I’ve promised myself to be back at least on the tennis courts my junior year.
While we’re on the subject of goals and intentions, I guess this would be a good time to segue into my hopes for the future. I’ve already pretty much decided on the direction I want to take everything. I want to graduate high school, hopefully with a 4.0 GPA, and then hopefully go Ivy League for college. I’ve got my sights set on Harvard, and even though realistically, the chances aren’t great, I’m going to keep working towards that and keep everything else as a second option. After that, I plan to set myself up with a career in Corporate Defense Law, and maybe even open my own practice somewhere like Boston or something.
And now for some generalities to kind of close this whole thing up. All-in-all, I’m a pretty laid back person. I’m a bit sarcastic, and I like to think I have a good sense of humor. (But then again, who doesn’t like to think that?) I’m a strong believe in working for what you want, and deserving what you’ve worked for, and I don’t believe in getting something for nothing. That should do it though, and I hope you enjoy my paper. 
Arthur Stewart, 2009 Dykeman Prize winner
Arthur Stewart 18 and Over
Arthur Stewart was an aquatic ecologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for more than 15 years before becoming a science education project manager at Oak Ridge Associated Universities. So he is keenly aware of the importance of science education in relation to water resources in Tennessee, and of the innate ecological vulnerability of streams in east Tennessee. “Here”, he notes, referring to Tennessee, “we are blessed and cursed with fascinating geology and a good climate. Geologically speaking, much of the Appalachian region is all folded up into ridges and valleys – perfect for springs and seeps, the basis for thousands of clear-running streams. But these streams are uniquely vulnerable, too, due to the climate and geology.  When the vegetation is stripped away from an area to make room for development, the clayey soil, rain and gravity immediately begin working together.  It is amazing how quickly and efficiently silt can find its way into a stream – and there, it can damage or kill invertebrates and fish. This situation increases the likelihood for conflicts between development and natural resources. But if we don’t learn how to take care of our streams, Tennessee tourism – a $14 billion-dollar-per-year economic impact – will suffer, too. ” Art has worked on various stream projects with high school students and teachers in the Appalachian Regional Commission- Oak Ridge National Laboratory Summer Institute.  In these studies, students learn that a type of snail (Elimia) that occurs in many clean-water streams in east Tennessee is also a great little “water quality detector”.  These snails are very abundant at locations where the water quality is good, but are absent or rare at locations where pollutants are present.Press release.

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