Writing pays off


EHS celebrates Black History Month with a new essay contest.

“We always held little assemblies before or after school on the topic of Black History Month,” Mrs. Jennifer Strauser, Eureka Equity Committee leader, said. “While that was good, we thought it would be better to do something a bit bigger and incorporate more African American themes into things we do every day.”

This year was the first time EHS offered the Black History Month Essay Contest sponsored by E2 and Rockwood’s Department of Education Diversity and Equity.

Airiona McKinney and Brandon Powers each received $250 for their winnings essays.

A subcomittee of the Eureka Equity Committee, made up of Mrs. Sarah Goodman, Mrs. Katie Schulze, Mrs. Robyn Stellhorn, Ms. Becky Stevenson, Ms. Strauser, chose the Black History Month Essay winners .

Student submitted 16 entries: eight students enrolled in the Voluntary Inter-dsitrict Choice Corportation program and eight local students, according to Mrs. Strauser.

Students wrote essays reflecting on the benefits of attending school with students who live in both the city and county.

The topic resondated with Airiona McKinney, VICC student winner.

“When I came here I thought that the teachers didn’t care and the county students wouldn’t like me because I talked improper,” McKinney said. “I was loud and rude. I took everything that I have learned from coming to school out here and put it into a story.”

Her family, not surprisingly, played a role in her story.

“I also took what I do at home like waking up to feed my sister every morning and walking to the bus stop and having to be up and ready by 5 a.m.  and not getting home until almost 5 at night,” McKinney said.

Brandon Powers, local student winner, took a chance that paid off.

“The idea of being exposed to different cultures through having students come from different backgrounds is interesting,” Brandon Powers, local student winner, said.

The experience has certainly been invaluable for McKinney.

“I feel like I have learned a lot from county kids,” McKinney said. “I feel like they have learned something from me so I thought someone could read the essay and know what it feels like to be a city kid going to a county school.”