Springfield High School of Science and Technology senior Kaylie Vanzant won the second annual Eastman Black History Month Oratorical Contest. Vanzant wrote and delivered an essay about George Washington Carver, the agricultural scientist best known for developing hundreds of uses for the peanut. Vanzant won $2,000 for her effort.
Shante Morris, also a SciTech senior, won second place and $1,500 for her essay on NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, while senior Manuel DeJesus won third place and $1,000 for an essay on journalism pioneer Robert Abbott.
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).
Students who 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.