COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and Dominion Energy recognized Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School senior Shaniya Jeffcoat and four other students from across the state for their outstanding submissions in the second annual “Strong Men & Women in SC History” writing contest . Winners were selected from each of South Carolina’s five regions: Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate.
The contest, which builds on the SCDE’s annual South Carolina African American History Calendar, encourages South Carolina high school juniors and seniors to write a 500-word essay about an African American with ties to the Palmetto State who has also been an inspiration in their life .
Jeffcoat’s essay reflects on the life and impact of Sumter native Charlotta Bass. Born in 1879, Bass was an outspoken journalist and political activist during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Jeffcoat writes, “The heroine, Charlotta Bass, has placed South Carolina on the map and has influenced many individuals from here, including me. She exemplifies how no limitations are imposed on you regardless of your origins or race unless you set them on yourself. ” She continues, “The dedication and hard work she demonstrated in the past motivates me to continue pushing forward to make my dreams a reality.”
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State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and Dominion Energy South Carolina President Keller Kissam presented each student with an Apple MacBook Air. Their school or homeschool association will receive $ 1,000.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Dominion Energy, recognize the ‘Strong Men & Women’ who contribute to the state and further recognize the winners of this year’s contest,” said Spearman. “As a grandmother, I am encouraged by the writings of the students that we honored today. Their words of gratitude and acknowledgment to those who have inspired them give me great optimism in the future of South Carolina, where the contributions of our communities interweave to create the wonderful tapestry of the state that we call home. “
Keller Kissam, president of Dominion Energy South Carolina, said, “These outstanding students wrote about strong African American men and women who have inspired their lives in meaningful ways. I was so moved when I read their essays, which were unique yet had common cornerstones to live by like tenacity, persistence, empathy and compassion. Their essays are an acknowledgment of greatness past and present, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this outstanding group of students from our great state. ”
The other 2022 Strong Men & Women in SC History student essay contest winners:
• Tyleigh Spiller, junior – Homeschool / Edgefield (CSRA)
• Hayley Hylton, junior – Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Lowcountry)
• Jayla Jones, junior – Lake City Early College High School (Pee Dee)
• Sarai Winkler, junior – Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (Upstate)
View the winning essays: https://scafricanamerican.com/2022-student-writing-contest-winners/.