Winners of the 2021 Project on Racism Essay Contest
The YWCA Wheeling’s Project on Racism Contest honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while encouraging students’ creativity.   This annual contest is open to any student in grades 1—12 attending public, private, parochial, or home school in the State of West Virginia; or any student under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/TASC program in the State of West Virginia.  The student does NOT have to be a U.S. citizen.  The YWCA Wheeling is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The contest includes, Essays, 5 Minute Short Films, & Music created by the students and based on the theme.
The 2021 Project on Racism Contest theme is the following quote from Dr. King
We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Despite the adversity and uncertainty of this year, the YWCA Wheeling still received over 100 essays, 6 short films, and 2 songs.  The excellence of the submissions attests to the quality of education students in West Virginia are receiving.  “It is a pleasure to work with educators across the state and watch creativity & thought prevail, despite the difficult situation all teachers & students have been dealing with this year.” affirmed Ron Scott Jr., coordinator of the 2021 Project on Racism Essay Contest.
All winners are invited to have their entries included in the statewide virtual celebration sponsored by the West Virginia Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission, and the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs on Saturday Jan. 16th, 2021. The event will be streamed at on Saturday, Jan. 16th, 2021at 5:00pm
State-wide winners are:
2021 Project on Racism Contest Winners
Essay Winners
Grades 9-12
1st Place: Devan Boyles
12th Grade, 17,
Parkersburg High School
Parkersburg WV
2nd Place: Alaina Fry
11th grade, 16,
Hedgesville High School
Hedgesville WV
3rd Place: Jonathan Nguyen
10th grade, 15,
Greenbrier East High School
Lewisburg WV
Grades 6-8
1st Place: Audrey Ferguson
8th grade, 13,
Warwood Middle School
Wheeling WV
2nd Place: Nicholas Lilly
8th grade, 13,
Shady Spring Middle School
Shady Spring WV
3rd Place: Julia Dunaway
7th grade, 13,
Triadelphia Middle School
Wheeling WV
Grades K-5
1st Place: Helen Miller
5th grade, 11,
Ansted Elementary School
Ansted WV
2nd Place: Reid Boswell
2nd grade, 7,
Spring Mills Primary School
Martinsburg WV
3rd Place: Paxton Matthews
3rd grade, 8,
Bethlehem Elementary School
Wheeling WV
5 Minute Film Contest
1st Place: Hunter Kelley, Everett Poole, Xander J. Plute, Nico Hoellwarth, Almira Ramazanova, Abolaji Oke, Nick Earls, Cole Grimm, & Sam Gorence
Grades 9-12
The Linsly School
Wheeling WV
2nd Place: Kate Blackwood
7th grade, 12,
Bridgeport Middle School
Bridgeport WV
3rd Place: Kinsley Edgmon
5th grade, 10
West Liberty Elementary School
West Liberty WV
Music Competition
1st Place: “Radio Silence” by Juanita Garcia
11th grade, 17,
The Linsly School
Wheeling WV
2nd Place: “Silent Friends” by Julian Skasik,
11th grade, 16,
Bridgeport High School
Bridgeport WV

2021 Project on Racism Contest GuidelinesDownload

Deadline for submissions is November 15, 2020. Submissions can be sent via email to or mailed to

YWCA Wheeling, 1100 Chapline Street, Wheeling, WV 26003.