MMS student William Wall with the MCPS School Board, his family, and MMS English teacher Lauryn Talley and Superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley

MMS student William Wall is the Region 2 winner of the Virginia Municipal League's "If I Were Mayor" Essay Contest!

William is one of only seven winners selected by VML from hundreds of entries from seventh graders across the state. For their essay, students were prompted to identify an issue in their locality, speak to others about possible solutions, and identify a solution that would best address the issue. 

He presented his essay (which he took the time and effort to memorize!) to the members of the MCPS School Board at their May meeting. 

For his victory, William will receive a plaque and a $150 gift card from VML. 

"I am extremely proud of his effort and sincerity," said William's English teacher Lauryn Talley. 

You can read William's winning essay here:

Have you ever been out shopping, walked past a few stores and then see a vape and tobacco shop? There are 11 vape and tobacco shops in Martinsville. The laws for vaping and tobacco say you must be 21, but 37.7% of kids 14 to 17 have vaped and 19.9% of kids 14 to 17 have used tobacco according to the CDC (central disease control). If I were mayor, I would take down tobacco stores that sell to minors, turn them into rehab centers, and have another layer to get minors off vape and tobacco.
Multiple websites say that more than 30% of vape and tobacco shops sell to minors. If there are 11 vape and tobacco stores in Martinsville, that means around 3 of them distribute to minors. Unfortunately, there are probably more that sell to minors, I’d say about five. If we have the evidence, we can take them down. But what are we going to do with the buildings?
We can turn the remaining buildings into rehab centers! Minors heavily addicted will find other ways to get vape and tobacco, so rehab centers will be the perfect thing for them. If they are caught with vape and tobacco, we can get their parents or guardian to apply them in one of these centers. Then we can get them off vape and tobacco in just a few weeks!
If rehab does not work, we can have an extra layer of support using other distractions to get through. Gum will help you focus on what you need to do with your life. Going for walks is a natural stress reliever and mental health aid. Talking to a therapist will work wonders for stress. If we put this plan into fruition, we can stop underage vape and tobacco use. We can take down vape and tobacco shops that distribute to minors, re-use them for rehab centers, and if we need to, we can have a whole other layer for underage addiction. Put it out before it puts you out! 

For the full Virginia Municipal League press release about the essay contest, click here