The Baldwin County Community Remembrance Project recognized the winners of the Racial Justice Essay Contest during the annual Martin Luther King Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 17 at the Foley Civic …
The Baldwin County Community Remembrance Project recognized the winners of the Racial Justice Essay Contest during the annual Martin Luther King Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 17 at the Foley Civic Center. A total of $5,000 in scholarships was awarded to Baldwin County high school students. Eight students received special recognition during the ceremony.
First place ($2,000) went to 11th grader Mykala M. Mason of Daphne High School. Second place ($1,500) went to 12th grader Lonyla Henton of Foley High School. Third place went to 10th grader Olivia Ryan of Robertsdale High School and 12th grader Joshua McClellan of Spanish Fort High School. Both students received $750 each for third place.
Honorable mentions went to Collin Abston, grade 12, Fairhope High School; Rhyannan McGuire, grade 9, Foley High School; and Hayley Fancher, grade 11, and Dominic Luthje, grade 12, both of Daphne High School.
Students from seven of the county’s nine public high schools and representatives from each high school grade level took part in the essay contest.
“We're extremely proud of these students for recognizing this outstanding opportunity to apply learning to real-world events and experiences,” said Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “We appreciate the chance to partner with the Baldwin County Community Remembrance Project on this important initiative.”
The contest was adapted from a model introduced by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery. It asks students to examine the history of a topic of racial injustice and discuss its legacy today. Essays focus on everything from local historical events, how injustices persist today, and potential solutions for a future free from racial injustice. Students are encouraged to reflect on how the topic impacts their own lives and communities.
The panel of judges for the contest included Margaret Davis (chair), retired professor of English, Spring Hill College; Felisha Anderson, Baldwin County Archivist; Thomas Bethea, counselor, Daphne High School; and Bob Zellner, civil rights activist and author. All of the students’ personal information was removed from the essays, allowing the judges to evaluate them blindly.
“We sincerely appreciate our judges’ support and we are grateful to the students who took their time to learn about local historical events and to write an essay about connected present-day issues,” said project co-chairs Kristi McClellan and Nancy Bolton Beck. “We know the importance of this new generation of leaders being a bridge from our past to our future. It is how we get from here to there.”
“Congratulations to our winners and many thanks to everyone who took part in the contest,” Maurice Horsey, convener of the Baldwin County Community Remembrance Project, said. “By doing so, these students have furthered the goal of fostering meaningful dialogue about race and justice in our community.”
For more information, visit www.baldwincommunityremembrance.org and https://www.facebook.com/Community-Remembrance-Project-Baldwin-County-Alabama-106225735151085.