Hall County student Emma Clyburn took home the first-place prize in the 2016 Middle School Essay Contest for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.
Clyburn, an eighth-grader at Lanier Christian Academy, took home $500 for her winning essay.
The annual essay contest challenges students to think critically about protecting and conserving water resources in the metro Atlanta region.
Winners were honored with a reception at the Georgia State Capitol on Dec. 14. Winners selected from each county received prizes of $100, and Clyburn received an additional $400 for her first- place prize. More than 1,700 students participated in the 2016 contest.
2016 marked the 15th year of the Metro Water District Essay Contest. The contest invites students in sixth through eighth grade in the city of Atlanta and Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties to participate in the contest.