Eastman, in partnership with the region of Normandy, France, Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools, announced today the Liberty Prize program for students at Dobyns-Bennett, West Ridge and Sullivan East high schools. The Liberty Prize is part of the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings, which will be celebrated in Normandy in June 2024.
In “The 80 D-Day Cards” project, students ages 15–18 are invited to write a tribute letter to the soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy during World War II on June 6, 1944, accompanied by a photo illustration.
Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2023. Ten local students will be announced as winners in early 2024. The winning authors will be invited to take part in a remembrance trip to Normandy the first week of June 2024. Eastman leadership will accompany the winning students for the celebrations. Winning entries will also be printed as postcards and showcased at celebration events in Normandy.
“Participating in the Liberty Prize 80th D-Day Remembrance contest offers students a chance to connect with soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. This opportunity not only honors the sacrifice of those soldiers but also provides a platform for students to learn about heroes through history,” said Brian Tate, Dobyns-Bennett High School principal. “Additionally, this affords students the prospect of winning a trip to Normandy, France, for the 80th anniversary celebration. What an extraordinary adventure to walk in the very places these historical events took place. Allowing students to trace the footsteps of the soldiers deepens their understanding of the significance of D-Day.”
“West Ridge High School is excited about the 80 D-Day Cards project,” said Principal George Laool. “It will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the winning authors and help preserve the memory of D-Day for future generations.”
Teachers and administrators at Dobyns-Bennett, West Ridge and Sullivan East will distribute applications and information to their respective students. Applications and additional information are also available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are proud to partner with our local high schools and the region of Normandy to make this incredible opportunity possible,” said Paula Bulcao, director of Eastman global public affairs. “This is an experience of a lifetime for these students, and the timing for this opportunity seems appropriate when you consider the current global dynamics. It’s a contest that requires critical thinking about our history and what’s going on in the world today.”
“It is humbling and honoring to be a part of something so amazing with Eastman and the Normandy region,” said Andy Hare, Sullivan East High School principal. “We owe a great deal to the Greatest Generation and the sacrifices they made in World War II and D-Day specifically. Now more than ever, our young people need to understand and appreciate how our history can inform our future. The Liberty Prize competition is a timely reminder.”
Eastman’s investment in France
In January 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron and Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa jointly announced Eastman’s plan to build a material-to-material molecular recycling facility in Normandy, France. The facility will use Eastman’s polyester renewal technology to recycle up to 200,000 tonnes annually of hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is currently being incinerated. The plant and an innovation center are expected to be operational by 2026.