The Shenango Valley Urban League honored 56 elementary students last month at a luncheon at Hickory High School for their outstanding essays entered into the 39th Annual African-American History and Heroes Essay Contest.
Of the 800 entries from area schools this year, 28 kids won first place trophies and 28 kids won honorable mention certificates.
All winners also received a special gift certificate provided by local donors.
The winning essays were – family members, sports figures and historical heroes. Also honored were first lady Michelle Obama and Leroy Homer, the co-pilot of Flight 93, which helped to divert the plane from crashing into the White House on Sept. 11, 2001.
Two students interviewed their heroes in person: Aliyah Hunt, grade six, from Hermitage Delahunty School, visited talk show host Steve Harvey on his set; and Max Tibers, grade five, Sharpsville Elementary School, talked by phone to David Wilcots, geologist.
Elite Williams, grade six, from Musser Elementary School, Sharon, wrote – why her mom is her hero: “My first reason why I pick my mom is because she raised me and she raised me well.
“The second reason why I picked my mom is because she is the best mother in the world. She gives me the most expensive and best gift ever which is love.”
Students honored with first-place trophies and the subjects of their essays were:
• From Sharpsville Elementary School:
Brayden Smiley – Sgt. William Harvey Carney
Kaleb Haun – The Tuskegee Airmen
Max Tiber – David Wilcots
• From C.M. Musser Elementary School, Sharon:
Briteece Odem – Serena Williams
Tavonte Brown – Marlin Jackson
• From Oakview Elementary, West Middlesex:
Chase Tomko – Hank Aaron
Kambri Adams – Rosa Parks
• From Kennedy Catholic Middle School, Hermitage:
Maya Jones – Terrance Phillips, her cousin
• From Farrell Elementary School:
Katherine Bennett – Michelle Ellis, her godmother
• From Case Avenue Elementary School, Sharon:
MacKenzie Thomas – Jerome Bettis
Elisabeth Joint – Gabby Douglas
Ben Baron – Marlin Jackson
Raymond J. Lampkins – Marion Lampkins Sr., his grandfather
Grace Buckley – Maya Glenn, her friend
Billy Colwell – Franco Harris
Anastasia Stonebraker – Dr. Theodore Yarboro
• From Hermitage Ionta Elementary School:
Sydney Fox – Oprah Winfrey
Alexandra Enoch – Gabrielle Douglas
Carla Murtha – Michelle Obama
Aliyah Hunt – Steve Harvey
Aryan Dholu – Jackie Robinson
• From Hermitage Delahunty Middle School:
Madison Gavin – Harriet Tubman
• From Mercer Elementary School:
Nikayla Jacoway – Maya Angelou
Riley Kennis – Robin Roberts
DJ Wilson – Michael Jordan
• From West Hill Elementary School, Sharon:
Lawrence Rand – Richard Smith, his grandfather
Klaus Curde – Leroy Homer
Michelle Josa – Michelle Obama
These students received honorable mention:
Sharpsville Elementary School – Noah Flaherty, Rylee Sloan and Bridget Mazzant;
C.M. Musser Elementary School, Sharon – Ryan Washburn and Elite Williams;
Oakview Elementary School, West Middlesex – Danielle Kohl and Anastasia Hohman;
Kennedy Catholic Middle School – Leah Lombardi;
Farrell Elementary School – Juwon Samuels;
Case Avenue Elementary School, Sharon – Alexis Bacon, Alaina Williams, A’Nahzya Griggs, Briana Matijevic, Rayna Munson, Makaila Sumpman and Sully Brown;
Ionta Elementary School, Hermitage – Peyton Mellott, Huanhuan Wang, Hunter Stoots, Michael Delehanty and Ben Branch;
Delahunty Middle School, Hermitage – Natalie Bell;
Mercer Elementary School – Carsen Burkhart, Madeline Rains and Taylor Yoder;
West Hill Elementary School, Sharon – Emillene Martin, Vijoniece McCullough and Leon Bell Jr.