Citizens Bank announced the winners of the ninth annual “Expressions of Freedom” writing contest. The winners was recognized at an awards ceremony  Jan 18 at the August Wilson Center. Citizens also provided free admission to the August Wilson Center on that day for “Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the August Wilson Center.”


Participants were asked to write an essay based on the famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Each winner received a $100 U.S. Savings Bond from Citizens Bank and the opportunity to record select portions of their essay for broadcast on KISS-FM or WPXI-TV throughout February in honor of Black History Month. Pittsburgh Public Schools, the New Pittsburgh Courier, WPXI-TV and KISS-FM were the co-sponsors.

“We continue to be surprised and delighted by the quantity and quality of the students’ essays. Their entries demonstrated not only excellent grammar and writing skills but a true understanding of Dr. King and his message,” said Ralph J. Papa, chairman, Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. “We are inspired to see that Dr. King’s legacy lives on through the younger generation. We would like to give special recognition to the Pittsburgh Public Schools and its teachers for encouraging the students to participate in the contest and learn more about Dr. King’s accomplishments.”

The 62 winners in alphabetical order are: Gina Ambrogio, Allderdice; Yazmin Bennett-Kelly, Schiller; Sakina Blackman, Perry; Jai’Von Bottoms, Montessori; Madison Conner, Banksville; Jacob Crum, Greenfield; Premier Daniels, Manchester; Rachel Deis, Obama; Katie Dodd, Langley; Trevon Dunning, Fulton; Patrick Evans, Allegheny; Jeremiah Evans, Fulton; Matthew Flaig, Concord; Ahmad Foreman, Fulton; Lauren Gallagher, South Brook; Perry Glover, Fulton; Tyah Hardeman, Liberty; Marvin Harden, Manchester; William Hargrow, Manchester; Mayah Harr, Montessori; Elias Hartshorn, Arsenal; Emmett Hollingshead, Sterrett; Erika Jefferson, Fulton; Yasamin Johnson, Rooney; Anthony Jones, Stevens; Monet Jones, Fulton; Siarria Jones, Milliones; Lee Jordan, Dilworth; Virginia Kane, Fulton; Adero Kauffmann-Okoko, Minadeo; Jessica Keller,     Obama; Allderdice; Tyrone Maddox, Manchester; Sharaya Massey, Fulton; Riley McKown, Concord; Lucy Merz, Colfax; Luke Miller, Schenley; Lyniece Milliones, Fulton; Aisha Osonduagwuike-Vaughns, Arsenal; Michael Phillips, Manchester; Yasmine Pipkins, Fulton; Damon Reft, Grandview; Dalezsa Regan, Lincoln; Tyrone Ripley, Milliones; Thomas Rone, Classical; Taleisha Royster, Westwood; Carter Sincere, Fulton; Elijah Smith, Murray; Roshele Smith Johnson, Milliones; Gregory Steinert, Carrick; Samantha Steppling; South Hills, Michael Tambellini, Brookline; Josh Tarun, Greenfield; Tiara Travis, Sunnyside; Amara Tunstalle, Sunnyside; Dana Vidic, Gifted; Sherdina Waymer, Fulton; Monet Wilkins, Fulton; Ta’Quawn Williams, Fort Pitt; Timeka Woods, Milliones; Dale Woodson, Milliones; Robert Wright, Manchester; Adam Zell, CAPA. Fulton School had the most winners.

This year a judging panel reviewed a record-breaking 1,100 entries. Contest winners from the categories of elementary and middle school will be invited to record portions of their essays at KISS-FM. High school category winners will have an opportunity to record portions of their essays at WPXI-TV. The announcements will run throughout February in honor of Black History Month.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt said, “Educating our young people today requires the cooperation and assistance of the entire community. We are extremely grateful to Citizens Bank, the New Pittsburgh Courier, WPXI-TV and KISS-FM for providing our students this wonderful opportunity to express themselves through this fun, exciting and educational exercise.”

“The educational value of the Expressions of Freedom writing contest is immeasurable,” said Rod Doss, editor and publisher, New Pittsburgh Courier. “In addition to helping the students better comprehend the visions and ideals of Dr. King, it also encourages students to develop critical thinking skills and utilize the fundamentals of grammar and writing.”

“Dr. King was an educator, a leader and a masterful communicator,” said Ray Carter, General Manager, WPXI-TV. “In the spirit of this great orator, some of the winning students will have a chance to demonstrate their communications skills by recording their essays in our studio. In continuing with the study of Dr. King, we hope the students walk away from this experience with an understanding of why it was important for Dr. King to use the mediums of television and radio to distribute his messages.”

The writing contest was created to provide an extracurricular educational program for students in Pittsburgh Public Schools. It recognizes outstanding achievement in writing skills, historical accuracy, creativity and substance.

Students were asked:

In1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. Write a short essay that demonstrates how you and other young people can fulfill Dr. King’s dream.

Also On New Pittsburgh Courier:
comments – Add Yours