Student Contest Winners


Strong Men & Women in Virginia History

2024 Creative Contest Finalists

Students addressed the following prompt: The biographies of the Strong Men & Women in Virginia History honorees are a testament to their determination and perseverance when faced with challenges and/or campaigning for change. (Biographies of past honorees can be seen here.) What challenge do you see within your community? What are some ways you can bring attention to this issue to promote positive change in the future? Write a letter, short speech or story, song or poem; design a website or piece of digital art; or create a video addressing that challenge to raise awareness in your community.

2024 student finalists: Angelina Nair, Bezawit Abate, Katelyn Luu, and Justin Kidd Jones pictured with Dominion Energy CEO Robert. M. Blue (l) and Librarian of Virginia Dennis T. Clark (r).

Bezawit Abate – Junior

School: Potomac High School

Principal: Brandon Boles

Watch Bezawit’s Submission

The notable challenge I see in my community is teen mental health illness. This video provides a deep explanation and informs the audience about mental health and how to bring attention to it in the real world and to help decrease this issue for positive outcome in the future. It is composed of brief discussion, description, evidence and graphics to inform the intended audience.

Justin Kidd Jones – Senior

School: Richmond Community High School

Principal: Kenya E. Massenburg

See Justin’s Submission

A challenge I see in my community is embracing our physical differences. People are so used to wanting to fit in and not go against the grain that they lose the thing that makes them them. Their uniqueness. They try their best to look like others, to dress like others, to be like others, that they lose themselves in the process. A way that you can bring awareness to this issue is by positively highlighting the things that make you unique through art. This piece I did is called Identity theft. In it, I drew pictures of all different types of people to celebrate their differences and to highlight what makes them unique. Once we as a community and a society learn that the best person you can be is yourself and you should love and embrace yourself and the people around you, so many of our problems would cease to exist.

2024 Student Contest Winner

Katelyn Luu – Freshman

School:   Cosby High School

Principal: Benjamin Snyder

Watch Katelyn’s Submission

My community lacks awareness and involvement in music education in public schools. Music should be integral in our communities as it builds creativity, discipline, and teamwork. To bring attention to this cause, we should encourage friends and family to engage and advocate for local youth orchestra programs. By sharing this documentary of Undine Smith Moore, a strong and determined woman from Virginia history, and playing a piece of her music, I aim to inspire new musicians and passionate supporters.

Angelina Nair – Senior

School: Grafton High School

Principal: Stephen Gavin

See Angelina’s Submission

My website discusses the eminent domain that Christopher Newport News used on an African American community to expand its campus. In addition to other universities that have done the same, this website includes what reparations should be offered in order to recognize the families that lost their homes to this institution.