Congratulations to the following nine students in Monroe County Community Schools for their winning essays in the 2017 Essay Contest, Black Her-Story Month Illuminating the Gifts of Black Women:

Elementary School Winners:
1st Prize: Kira Unger-Levinson (University)
2nd Prize: Xavier Laffoon (Highland Park)
3rd Prize: Sophia Watters (Binford)
Middle School Winners:
1st Prize: Regan Theile (Jackson Creek)
2nd Prize: Zoe Slatkin (Jackson Creek)
3rd Prize: Tara Ganguly (Tri-North)
High School Winners:
1st Prize: Poorabi Nandi (Bloomington High School North)
2nd Prize: Haifa Mohamed (Bloomington High School North)
3rd Prize: Eva Ladd (Bloomington High School North

Their essays illuminated the gifts of Black women. They could write about any of the following Black women: Marian Anderson, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Misty Copeland, Ava DuVernay, Lorraine Hansberry, Fannie Lou Hamer, Toni Morrison, Michelle Obama, Sojourner Truth, or Serena Williams.

Elementary and middle school students were required to write a 350-500 word essay that included identifying the specific gifts their subject brought to the United States, how she influenced or helped change our society, what personal traits and skills the writer most admired, and how those traits inspire the writer’s life and goals. High school students were given the same assignment, however, their essays were to be 500-700 words and they were asked to identify ways that “her-story” can motivate others to change.

Essay contest winners will be recognized on February 21st at a 6:00 p.m. ceremony at Fairview Elementary School where first place finishers each will receive a 16GB iPad Air 2, second prize winners each receive $100, and third prize winners each receive $75.

The Black History Month Essay Contest is sponsored by Indiana University Credit Union, Prince Hall Masons Stone City Lodge #54, and Order of the Eastern Star, Southern Star #50.

This post was written in collaboration with Andrew Clampitt, Public Relations and Information Officer, Monroe County Community School Corporation

 Indiana’s urban schools offer Hoosier students a rich array of programs, services, and opportunities. IUSA appreciates the opportunity to share the stories that demonstrate what the schools have to offer and the many successes their students, faculty and staff achieve.


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