The annual University of Virginia’s College at Wise Forum on Education was held on November 13 in the Lakeview Room of the David J. Prior Center.
With educators from Wise County, Norton City Schools, UVa-Wise and Mountain Empire Community College present, there were several speakers discussing the importance of education. Perhaps the most notable speaker was New York Times best-selling author Adriana Trigiani.
After opening statements from UVa- Wise Chancellor Donna Henry and an introduction, Trigiani spoke of how education has influenced her throughout her life. Also, she discussed the importance of creativity and how every individual is capable of it.
“You are the artist. Every person in this room bleeds creativity, thought, knowledge—the good stuff,” Trigiani said.
Trigiani kept the crowd entertained long enough for everyone to build up an apatite for dinner to be served. After dinner, the main event took place in which Dr. William Kanto Jr. announced the annual winner of the Kanto Award.
The Kanto Award is presented annually to a local citizen who has contributed to the betterment of education in Wise County and the City of Norton. The award was named in honor of William P. Kanto who was a former Norton City manager. Additionally, Kanto was a member of the Norton City School Board for 25 years.
Kanto’s son, Dr. William Kanto Jr., spoke highly of his father and his influence on the surrounding areas of Wise County and Norton.
“He was able to be named to the first state community college board. It was his desire at the time that there would be established at least a two-year school throughout the state so that anybody who wanted an additional two years after high school was in driving distance of a college where they could get that,” Kanto said.
“I can’t help but think he would be so satisfied and pleased today to see what has happened.”
This year, the award, traditionally presented to a member of the education community in the areas surrounding Wise County, was given to someone who has a great impact on the education community in the area despite not living in the area anymore.
Trigiani took home the award without having any idea she was even in the running. During her acceptance speech, Trigiani understandably teared up when discussing how honored she was and how things have changed in the area.