ATHENS — Two Athens School students, a kindergartner and a fourth grader, were recognized by State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree for their artwork concerning fire safety awareness at a Monday afternoon ceremony in the school’s gymnasium.

Athens School Principal Shelley Weiss said this was the fourth consecutive year that Tyree had come to the school to recognize students. In 2017 and 2018, Will Bryant, now a student at PikeView Middle School, was the first-place winner and got his artwork on the cover of the fire safety calendar. In 2019, current fourth grader Samantha Meadows and current fifth grader Gavin Prinzbach were recognized by having their artwork inside the calendar.

“This is one of our favorite contests, putting the work of our students out there to emphasize fire safety and recognize the work of our firefighters,” she said.

Tyree said, “I’m glad to be here to recognize the students and their teachers who work so hard to shape them.”

He added that the artwork, which featured one or several aspects of a firefighter’s job, was a way to thank them for what they do.

In 1871, he said, the Great Chicago Fire occurred, burning over 100,000 acres, claiming at least 250 lives and displacing many others. Over the next 30 years, Chicago was rebuilt to the point that it hosted a World’s Fair. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge declared October National Fire Prevention Month.

“I appreciate all of your efforts to emphasize fire prevention. My office’s efforts are aimed at limiting, if not eliminating, fire deaths in West Virginia and I’m asking you to work with your family towards that end,” Tyree said.

The 2020 winners from Athens School are kindergartner Sammy Butler and fourth grader Ethen Price. Both received plaques of recognition and coin medals commemorating firefighters.

Weiss concluded the ceremony by challenging her students to make next year the fifth consecutive year that the Fire Marshal’s Office visits Athens School to recognize students.

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