Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Essay Contest Winners Announced

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, March 07, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Essay winners recognized in Capitol Rotunda

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Ernie Fletcher today saluted the winners of the Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Essay Contest, sponsored by Marathon Petroleum. The winners were recognized in a ceremony conducted by seventh grade students from Boyd and Greenup counties who participated in the contest.

  • First place went to Jessica White of Fairview Middle School. She was awarded a $400 savings bond and her school received $1,000. 
  • Second place went to Simeon Cox of Rose Hill Middle School. He was awarded a $200 savings bond and his school received $750. 
  • Third place went to Bryson Miller of Wurtland Middle School. He received a $100 savings bond and his school was awarded $500.

Commerce Secretary George Ward, who represented Governor Fletcher as he continues to recuperate, read the following message from the Governor to the students:

“I read the top three essays, and I have to tell you, they really made me proud. They showcase the passion our young people share and the Unbridled Spirit that makes our commonwealth truly unique. The essay winners are proof that Kentucky will be in good hands in the years to come. Thank you all for participating in this contest, and special thanks to Jessica, Simeon and Bryson for sharing their essays.”

In Jessica White’s essay, she cited the unbridled spirit of Kentuckians, including team spirit, helping spirit, and the beautiful scenery across the state. The following is an excerpt:

“When I first think of unbridled spirit, I think of the people of Kentucky. Whether you are talking about the farmers, the teachers, the CEOs or anyone in between, the people of our state have a great spirit toward hard work…

Another example of the spirit of our people is witnessed on the athletic fields and in gymnasiums across the state. From the Junior Football League to the Lexington Legends, no one can match our team spirit…

…Our people have a genuine spirit of generosity that comes, I believe, from having to work hard for what you have, so you appreciate it more and are more mindful of the needs of others. That says a great deal about the truly important unbridled spirit of Kentucky: the spirit of kindness.”

In addition to the top three awards, 13 other students received honorable mentions and $50 savings bonds for their essays. They included Jacob Adams, Verity Middle School; Rebekkah Bolt, Rose Hill; Oakley Caskey, Verity Middle School; Katie Evans, Raceland/Worthington Middle School; Justin Evans, Raceland/Worthington Middle School; Jacob Heishman, Verity Middle School; Kara Hopper, Rose Hill Middle School; Jessie Litteral, Boyd County Middle School; Marisa Lopez, Holy Family Middle School; Marissa Malone, Russell Middle School; Katelyn Miller, Verity Middle School; Lauren Miller, Verity Middle School; and Michael Sullivan, Boyd County Middle School.

All seventh graders in Boyd and Greenup counties were asked to participate by writing a 500-750 word essay, explaining what unbridled spirit meant to them. The top essays in each school were then sent to a three-judge panel, which evaluated each and chose the finalists.

The Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Essay Contest was created by Marathon Petroleum in conjunction with the company’s placement of the brand on a large storage tank in Catlettsburg. "Marathon Petroleum is pleased with the response of the students and the quality of the essays," said Doug Sparkman, Catlettsburg Refining Plant Manager. "Reading the essays was like getting a lesson in Kentucky history. We believe the essays captured what the people of Kentucky had in mind when they chose Unbridled Spirit to represent the commonwealth.”