By Sarah Plummer
The 2013 Rocket Boys Festival director Scott Hill announced the addition of a pre-festival conference called “24 Steps to a Better West Virginia” Monday at the monthly festival planning meeting.
The conference, one or two days prior to the Oct. 4 festival, will host a diverse selection of 24 speakers who have innovative and bright ideas that could solve some of West Virginia’s problems.
“We are looking for ideas to help West Virginia have a bright future. Speakers could be teachers, politicians, clergy, doctors, lawyers — anyone with ideas and passion for the state,” said Hill. “They can be a seasoned speaker or it could be their first time speaking before a group.”
Speakers will give 10-to-15 minute presentations, sharing some of their ideas to remedy current problems or capitalize on the state’s successes.
Hill said this will be a great chance to get people who care about West Virginia together, be it to speak or to listen.
Hill also announced that plans are moving forward to bring the Prodigy Foundation’s West Virginia Teacher of the Year Awards and dinner to Beckley as part of this year’s festival.
Roy Lee Cooke started the Prodigy Foundation to support education and jobs in West Virginia and each year the foundation awards an outstanding teacher who has overcome great obstacles to reach the pinnacle of his or her profession.
The time and date of this awards ceremony will be announced later on, but Hill expects it to also be the Wednesday or Thursday before the festival.
In addition, Hill announced that bluegrass band Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys has been added to the entertainment line-up for the 2013 festival.
More information on Johnny Staats can be found online at www.johnnystaats. com.
And finally, Hill reported that three of the four original Rocket Boys, including author Homer Hickam Jr., have confirmed their invitation to the festival.
Those wanting to volunteer for the festival or who wish to suggest a speaker for the new series can e-mail Hill at email@example.com.
More information on the 2013 Rocket Boys Festival is available online at www. rocketboysfestival.com.
The next planning meeting will be at noon May 2 at the American Red Cross, 200 Industrial Drive, Beckley.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org