'World's finest' Catholic school principal awarded with cash, chocolate

.- A Catholic school principal from West Virginia was chosen out of 400 nationwide contestants to win a cash prize and 60 cases of chocolate for being titled the “World's Finest” principal.

A competition sponsored by World's Finest Chocolate and Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine recognized Karen Wynne – principal of St. Francis de Sales School in Beckley, West Virginia – after she was nominated by her staff and 150 students.

At a Feb. 15 ceremony at the school, Wynne received her title as World’s Finest principal and a check for $1,000. The school will receive 60 cases of personalized chocolate bars to use in fundraising.

“Unbeknownst to me, my student body and staff nominated me to be the World’s Finest Principal,” Wynne told the local Register-Herald Feb. 16. “In December, they asked me to come to the gym and surprised me by showing me all the things they had done to nominate me for the position.

“It was a national contest, and I never dreamt that we had a chance of winning,” she said.

St. Francis de Sales School’s assistant principal and third-grade teacher, Mary Grace Peck, lead the initiative to nominate Wynne for the award. Throughout the last several months, the staff and student body worked to prepare posters, essays, videos, and pictures for Wynne's nomination.

Wynne noted that students at St. Francis came up with creative entries, including a song written by the second grade, a picture collage of Wynne's daily activities by the third grade, and a newsletter on Wynne's accomplishments created by the seventh grade.

The competition was administered by Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine and garnered entries from Catholic elementary and high schools across the U.S. The winning entry was selected based on the creativity of each entry and the personal merits of the nominated principal.

Chairman and CEO of World’s Finest Chocolate Edmond F. Opler, who attended the award ceremony for Wynne, said that his Chicago-based company helped sponsor the competition to recognize all Catholic school principals.

Wynne said that of the 60 cases of chocolate – around 3,000 bars –  every student and staff member would get one to eat.

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