Recent Press

Press Releases, News & Updates from Explore and all of our education efforts.

Ripley Middle School and Blenko Glass Company Team Up for the Explore Student Video Contest

Explore the New Manufacturing is pleased to release Ripley Middle School’s video submission in the Kanawha Valley region of the Explore Student Video Contest.  The video showcases what happens inside the colorful world of Blenko Glass, located in Milton, West Virginia.

The students are competing for three regional awards: Outstanding Creativity, Best Manufacturing Message, and Viewer's Choice.  Visit to view the Ripley Middle School video and cast your vote in the Viewer’s Choice Contest.  Voting closes on April 16th at midnight.

The Ripley Middle School team: Kaden Jeffers, Jayden Gooseman, Brooklyn Morrison, Jaden Terry, Lilly Vanhoose, and Jenna Wyer 

“The Explore New Manufacturing Student Video Contest has been an amazing experience for the Ripley Middle School Explore Team,” stated Whitney Scholl, the team’s faculty adviser. “Our students had the opportunity to visit a manufacturing company in the state of West Virginia and gain hands-on experience of what it is like to work in a factory.  The students were tasked with making a video advertising the company Blenko Glass that we were paired with.  The students were able to work with each other to create the video.  They learned that it was a team effort and that everyone had to contribute to the project for it to be a success.” 

“We love hosting students each year for the Explore Student Video Contest,” commented Odana Chaney, Director of Customer Experience. “Blenko Glass is a fascinating marriage between art and industry, and we love being given the chance to show young and old alike that passion and creativity can exist and even thrive in a manufacturing environment.”  In addition to Chaney, Blenko support team included Alex Burdette (Glassblower), Charlie Chafin (Glassblower), Lisa Stevens (Glassblower), Mike Chastain (Director of Glass), and Chayse Roar (Shipping).

“Today’s middle school students will be tomorrow’s workforce in manufacturing in West Virginia,” said Program Director Monica Cross, who oversees the Explore the New Manufacturing program on behalf of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association Educational Fund’s efforts to create student awareness and excitement about careers in manufacturing and the training opportunities for these positions in their local areas. “We are excited to share Ripley Middle School’s video with you.  The team did an excellent job, and their results illustrate the use of creativity, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork.

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Upcoming Dates

28 May
STATE AWARDS Virtual Ceremony
Date 05.28.2024
5 Jun
Educator Roundtable
23 Jul
WVMA-EF Board Dinner
07.23.2024 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
24 Jul
WVMA-EF Board Retreat
07.24.2024 7:30 am - 8:30 am

Updates from Explore

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