"Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations," BCPS Announces 2023 Black History Month Writing Contest Winners


Faye Foster, a fifth grader at Hillcrest Elementary School accepts her award. (Credit: Baltimore County Public Schools)

BALTIMORE COUNTY - This year, 238 students from 80 schools across Baltimore County competed in the 2023 Black History Month Writing Contest. Students earned top honors at Hillcrest and Warren elementary schools, Perry Hall Middle School, and Catonsville High School.

Every year, the BCPS Offices of English Language Arts and Social Studies choose a prompt that students use to craft entries related to the quotation and inspired by a Black activist, artist, athlete, author, musician, scientist, or other public figures.

This year's prompt was a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who, in 2022, became the first Black woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

"Our children are telling me that they see now, more than ever, that, here in America, anything is possible."

Jodi Wicks, BCPS coordinator, Office of Secondary English Language Arts, said this year's entries were extraordinary.

"This year's entries were incredibly creative and submitted in a variety of formats," Wicks said. "Judges from offices and divisions across the county came together to review the remarkable entries and deliberated carefully to select the winners in each grade band. The Offices of English Language Arts and Social Studies, along with the Education Foundation, appreciate the efforts of everyone involved and commend all student writers for their participation."

The Education Foundation of BCPS sponsored the 2023 contest and provided a $75 prize for each overall grade winner.

Here are the winners and one moving quote from their entries:

Kindergarten – Grade 2

Winner: Veer Saywack, Grade 2, Warren Elementary School

Title: "Maybe my pain was motivation."

"This makes me thank my parents for being there for me and taking me to practice and games. Lebron help me to see how lucky I am."

Grades 3 - 5

Winner: Faye Foster, Grade 5, Hillcrest Elementary School

Title: "Shoot for the Stars"

"One of my favorite quotes from Mae Jemison is "Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations," and she definitely stayed true to her words."

Grades 6 - 8

Winner: Josephine Oseromi, Grade 7, Perry Hall Middle School

Title: "The Eradicated Darkness"

"I will take that step, - To become a mathematician, - A poet, - And a surgeon. - For when I make my dream a seal, - I will, I say, - Make it REAL."

Grades 9 - 12

Winner: Lauryn Blair, Grade 10, Catonsville High School

Title: "A Rekindled Star"

"I wondered if I could touch the moon - And see the stars they shined - But scary questions would haunt my thoughts - They would lurk inside my mind."

The complete winning entries can be found here.

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