CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV) – After proclaiming November 29 as STEM Day in West Virginia, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced the student winners of the State Capitol Minecraft Design/Build contest. This contest was a collaborative effort involving the Governor's STEM Initiative, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and the Education Alliance.
The competition, which began in May, was open to West Virginia students, grades PreK-12 and challenged participants to either create a new version of the state capitol building or produce a replica of the current complex using Minecraft. Governor Tomblin recognized both individual and team winners from each category.
"I applaud each student who took the time to create their own versions of our state capitol," said Gov. Tomblin. "More than once this summer, I saw students exploring the capitol grounds, taking notes and preparing for the hours they would spend creating their submissions. Their efforts certainly paid off. It's important that we encourage our students to develop the skills and interests that build a foundation for future success in STEM fields - into college, training programs and careers."
The students recognized today received more than $7,100 in gift cards to be used for educational purposes. In addition, Microsoft is providing a Surface Pro 4 to each of the top two winners for each category-Asad Ranavaya from Cabell Midland High School in Cabell County and Justin Hardwick from East Fairmont High School in Marion County.
Before the student recognition ceremony, Governor Tomblin hosted a roundtable discussion with state and education officials, along with students, to highlight the efforts and successes of his STEM Council and STEM Initiative.
"There is a critical need to focus our state's attention on science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said Gov. Tomblin. "West Virginia's workforce needs are evolving and in order to fill jobs in the future, all of us - from K-12, higher education, and workforce and economic development - must work together to provide our students access to the best STEM education opportunities."
The Governor STEM Council was established to develop specialized STEM education opportunities for West Virginia students and increase the number of graduates in these fields. The council is comprised of business and education leaders across the state.