Magna Vista High School sophomore Emma Metzger won the 4th annual Eastman Black History Month Oratorical Contest. Metzger wrote and delivered an essay about Henrietta Lacks whose cells are credited with helping scientists develop innovations in vaccines. Metzger won a cash prize of $1,500.
Ava Grant, a 10th grade Martinsville High School student, won second place and a prize of $1,000 with an essay on pediatric neurosurgeon Alexa Irene Canady. Cristiano Di Maro, a senior at Carlisle School, won third place and a prize of $750 for an essay on vocational education innovator Virginia Estelle Randolph.
Sydney Howell-Wampler, an 11th grade student at Bassett High School won fourth place and $500 in scholarship money. Bassett sophomore Lydia Hinsen won fifth place and received $250.
Eastman conducts the Black History Month Oratorical Contest annually for high school students in Springfield. The goal is to contribute to a deeper public understanding of Black and African American contributions to the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM).
A student choosing to participate must submit an original essay about a notable Black or African American contributor. Essays are judged on grammar; how well they demonstrate the innovator’s contribution; the credibility and proper sourcing of references; and distinctiveness of the subject and/or topic. The oratory presentations are judged on diction, tone, pronunciation, and creativity.