Home McClellan announces winners of inaugural Black History Month essay contest
Politics, Virginia

McClellan announces winners of inaugural Black History Month essay contest

Rebecca Barnabi
Black History Month
(© MEGAWE STUDIO – stock.adobe.com)

The winners of Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan‘s inaugural Black History Month Essay Contest are Frances Widmer of Albert H. Hill Middle School and Zahara Flowers of Petersburg High School.

The competition aims to increase education and awareness of prominent figures in Black history. Middle school students explored the importance of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s trailblazing career as the first Black woman to ever serve in Congress. High school students analyzed the significance of President Barack Obama as the first Black president and his quote, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

“My Black History Month Essay Contest was a wonderful opportunity to see the wisdom of students in Virginia’s Fourth,” McClellan, who represents Virginia’s District 4, said. “Thank you to the 46 middle and high school students across our district who participated in the competition. The essays were exemplary representations of the passion and persistence that the younger generation embodies. I was thoroughly impressed by the insightful perspectives of all the submissions, and I’m thrilled to congratulate Frances and Zahara on their winning essays.”

McClellan also named:

  • Second Place: Houston Barnes from Albert H. Hill Middle School and Chris Qian from Maggie Walker High School

  • Third Place: London Dabney from Vernon Johns Middle School and Christopher Grady from Maggie Walker High School

McClellan hosted a reception for the students and presented awards and certificates of participation to attendees. The winning essays were entered into the Congressional Record and presented to Frances and Zahara.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.