Pine Tree High School senior Elena Bazan won the 4th annual Eastman Black History Month Oratorical Contest. Bazan wrote and delivered an essay about Gladys West, a mathematician whose work led to the creation of the global positioning system. Bazan won a cash prize of $1,500.
Karima Mbeh, a 12th grade Pine Tree student, won second place and a prize of $1,000 with an essay on biochemist Marie Maynard Daly. Jessica Hernandez, a Longview High School freshman, won third place and a prize of $750 for her essay on prolific engineer Elijah McCoy.
Chadeá Gipson, a senior at Pine Tree, won fourth place and $500 in scholarship money. Carolyn Purdum, a 10th grade student at Longview, won fifth place and received $250.
Eastman conducts the Black History Month Oratorical Contest annually for high school students in Longview. 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 language use; how well they demonstrate the innovator’s contribution; the credibility and proper sourcing of references; and originality. The oratory presentations are judged on diction, tone, pronunciation, and creativity.