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Dominion Energy Virginia and the Library of Virginia present Strong Men & Women in Virginia History. This program honors distinguished African-American leaders in Virginia, and features a student writing contest.

The 2020 awards ceremony was held on February 6 at the Richmond Marriott. (View a news release.) This year marks the 30th anniversary of the "Strong Men & Women" series. The 2020 honorees made great advances in the fields of engineering, sports, law and activism.

2020 Honorees:

  • Kaci M. Easley, Government Official, Charles City County
  • Penny J. Franklin, Community Activist, Montgomery County
  • Joycelyn S. Harrison, Chemical Engineer and Mentor, Hampton
  • Torrey Smith, Super Bowl Champion & Philanthropist, Westmoreland County
  • Marcus D. Williams, Judge and Civic Leader, Fairfax

Student Writing Contest

High school students across Virginia are invited each year to honor outstanding African Americans by participating in Dominion Energy Virginia and Library of Virginia's Strong Men & Women in Virginia History student writing contest. Four winning essays are chosen, one from each of the four regions that Dominion Energy Virginia serves (Central, Eastern, Northern and Western).

The winners of the 2020 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History student essay writing contest:

  • Rebekah Bautista: Massaponax High School/Commonwealth Governor's School, Fredericksburg
  • Jy'Mir Starks: Great Bridge High School, Chesapeake
  • Ilaria Cabell: Forest Park High School, Woodbridge
  • Ava Seagle: Gate City High School, Gate City

Winners

Winning students and their school representatives MUST attend the ceremony to receive their awards.

Winning students will receive an Apple MacBook Air!

Winning students’ schools will receive an award of $1,000!

Dominion Energy and the South Carolina Department of Education present Strong Men & Women In South Carolina History. This program honors distinguished African-American leaders in South Carolina, and features a student writing contest.

Congratulations to the following 2021 Student Writing Contest Winners:

Imunique Herriott

Imunique Herriott

Horry County Schools Early College High School

Read Imunique's Essay

Addie Johnson

Addie Johnson

West Ashley High School

Read Addie's Essay

Carter Lanier

Carter Lanier

Silver Bluff High School

Read Carter's Essay

Braylon Ratcliff

Braylon Ratcliff

Spring Valley High School

Read Braylon's Essay

Mishka Richards

Mishka Richards

Indian Land High School

Read Mishka's Essay

Winners

Winning students and their school representatives MUST attend the ceremony to receive their awards.

Winning students will receive an Apple MacBook Air!

Winning students’ schools will receive an award of $1,000!

Student Writing Contest

For the first year, high school juniors and seniors will be invited to participate. Five winning essays will be chosen, one each from five regions of the state:

  • Midlands
  • Upstate
  • Lowcountry
  • Pee Dee
  • CSRA

Timeline

  • March 3, 2021 – Public Announcement/Press Release
  • April 23, 2021 – Submission Deadline
  • April 26 to May 14, 2021 – Judging
  • Winners will be notified in late May. Winning essays will be posted to the websites of both the South Carolina Department of Education (ed.sc.gov) and Dominion Energy.
  • October, 2021 – Essay winners will be invited to participate in the unveiling ceremony of the 2022 SC African American History Calendar.

Contest Rules

  • Submit a 500-word essay below by April 23, 2021 for a chance to win an Apple MacBook Air and $1,000 for essayist school.
  • Each entrant must be a high school junior or senior at a public or private high school in South Carolina. Homeschoolers also may apply; the $1,000 school award can be applied to a homeschooler association if the winner’s family has an active, dues-paying membership.
  • One winner will be selected from Five Regions of the state (Midlands, Upstate, Lowcountry, Pee Dee, CSRA).
  • All entries must be original works that have not been published or submitted for publication anywhere else.
  • Entries should not exceed 500 words.
  • Entries become the property of the South Carolina Department of Education and will not be returned.
  • The South Carolina Department of Education and Dominion Energy reserve the right to use the winners’ names and entries for promotional purposes in all forms of media without notice on their official website, review, approval or compensation, except where prohibited by law.

Judging Criteria

A panel of judges will be selected by the SCDE and Dominion Energy and will use this criteria:

  • Content - Reflection of careful and thorough thought.
  • Focus - Prompt questions must be answered, and main idea clearly articulated, or essay will be disqualified.
  • Support - Relevant, quality details about important thoughts and concepts.
  • Style - Essay flows well and shows good word choice and structure.
  • Mechanics - Correct use of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

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