Three Iowa high schools students have been selected as the winners of the statewide Juneteenth Essay Contest, sponsored by Drake University.
Juneteenth is a national observance marking the end to slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth will celebrate 150 years this year and the Iowa Juneteenth Observance will mark its 25th anniversary as well.
The first place essay contest winner is Mercy Oyadare, from North High School in Sioux City. Katherine Witt, from Davenport Central High School is the second place winner. Third place was awarded to Susie Pottebaum from Kuemper Catholic High School in Carroll.
Students were asked to write an essay that addressed the theme, “How does education influence freedom, liberty, and responsible citizenship in a culturally diverse society?” The essay contest serves as an inspirational vehicle for youths to strengthen appreciation for scholarship, cultural diversity, and the enhancement of community relations.
Honors were awarded to the top three essayists. Each of the three will receive a trophy and an invitation to an on-campus visit to Drake. In addition, the first place winner will receive a $1,000 gift card, the second place winner a $300 gift card, and the third place winner a $200 gift card.
The three winners will be presented their trophies and gift cards at the Iowa Juneteenth Observance Community Appreciation Banquet in Des Moines on June 11.