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Worthington fourth-grader wins statewide contest

Eric Roos (right), superintendent of Worthington Public Utilities, presents the first-place award for Minnesota Rural Water Association’s Water Week Poster Contest to fourth-grade Prairie Elementary student Jose Reveles (middle). Reveles created the poster during his class with teacher Cory VanBriesen (left). Erin Trester/Daily Globe1 / 2
The winning poster for the Minnesota Rural Water Association Water Week Poster Contest created by fourth grade Prairie Elementary Student Jose Reveles. Erin Trester/Daily Globe2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) hosted an award ceremony Tuesday for Prairie Elementary student Jose Reveles, a fourth-grade student who took first place in the statewide Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) Water Week Poster Contest. 

The ceremony turned out to be a complete surprise for Reveles as his teacher, Cory VanBriesen, hid the win from him.

“Jose is such a great student and he’s well deserving of this award,” VanBriesen said. “That’s why I really wanted to make this a nice surprise for him.”

Reveles’ mother, Claudia Sanchez, was also present for the surprise ceremony.

“I’m just so proud of him,” Sanchez said. “He is such a great kid and student.”

Each year, the MRWA provides educational and poster contest material to Minnesota member utilities. The material focuses on the water cycle, groundwater basics and how to conserve water. WPU distributes the material to fourth-grade teachers at all local elementary schools interested in participating in the poster contest.

Each classroom submits its winning poster to WPU, and the utility staff chooses one local winning poster to submit to MRWA. The MRWA staff then selects three posters from the statewide submissions. Those three posters are displayed in March at MRWA’s annual Operations and Technical Conference in St. Cloud. Attendees at the conference submit their votes to determine the statewide winner.

Eric Roos, water superintendent for WPU, led the award ceremony by asking students what they learned during water week, and what they can do to conserve water.

Many students raised their hands and gave out conservation tips.

One student said, “When you brush your teeth, make sure you turn off the water.” Another said, “When cleaning dishes, it’s better to fill up the sink with water and then wash the dishes (rather) than leaving the water running.”

Roos finally asked students to give themselves and their teachers a round of applause for all they accomplished during Water Week.

It was then time to unveil the surprise. Roos explained that someone in the room won the statewide competition, and asked for that individual to come forward when he held up the victorious poster.

Reveles was then presented with the first-place award, a WPU T-shirt and a $100 gift card. His photo will also appear on the MRWA magazine, Today. WPU also hosted a pizza party for all participating fourth-grade classrooms at the local schools.

This isn’t the first time a Worthington student has won this award. Since 1997, Worthington has had four first-place winners, one second-place winner and one honorable mention.

When asked if he thought he would be winning this statewide award, Reveles simply said, “I had no idea; it was a surprise.”

For more information on the MRWA and the water week contest, visit

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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