Program awards 2 students with D.C. trip

Cole Schnell
Junior Editor

Junior Ciyanna Mahan, junior Aysha Grey and junior Teona Adam receive awards for researching their history. “I think it is really important that we remember our past and let that guide our actions in the future.” Adams said. Photo by Donald Johnson

Proud Past Inspired Future sponsor Chuck Reynolds announced junior Aysha Grey and junior Teona Adam as the grand prize winners at Steger during annual MLK celebration on Jan. 15.

Proud Past Inspired Future is a program for sophomore and junior African American students to learn about their pasts.

“I think it is really important that we remember our past and let that guide our actions in the future. Being proud of my history and my heritage is really important to me, and being given an opportunity to express the love of my history is really nice,” Grey said.

Participants are awarded based on presentation of what they learned. The grand prize winners were awarded a four-day trip, April 20 through April 22, to the Washington D.C. with one guardian, respectively and Chelsea Center organizers Julie Burchett and Dana Miller. After multiple meetings to prepare for their trip, they will leave St. Louis for Washington D.C. and then visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, MLK memorial and meet with legislators. Grey and Adams said they are very excited for the trip.

The students will reflect on their trip and create a film to present at a reception honoring interracial dignity on May 2. The reception is open to all community members. The students will receive credit through the Chelsea Center.

Two first runners-up, sophomore Erica Richardson and junior Fanuel Achinda, were awarded $200 and second runner-up, junior Ciyanna Mahan, was awarded $100. All awards, including the trip, are being paid for by Laura and Chuck Reynolds.

“Every junior, sophomore who is black needs to do it (Proud Past Inspired Future) because you might surprise yourself (and win),” Adams said.

There were only five applicants. Burchett said she hopes for more Proud Past Inspired Future participants in the future.

All participants answered reflection questions, researched their past and presented their research through several different media, like poetry and other writing, to a community judging panel made up of volunteers and the donors.

The panel reviewed the presentation and the reflection question answers to choose the winners.


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