Rocky Mount, NC - Reading literacy and cultural history shared the spotlight at Williford Elementary School during a Black History Essay & Oratorical contest on Tuesday.

The event was made possible by the BAC Scholarship Fund with support from the school's leadership and members of the community. The school's fifth grade students were tasked with writing about an "African-American leader, still alive today that has changed the world". When asked what led to the writing prompt, Kevin Jones, the organization's founder and president said "We were looking for ways to challenge students beyond the much important but all too common Civil Rights leaders of the 1960's. To follow our prompt, students had to do a little digging --- which will help prepare them for middle school where research-based writing is an important skill to have."

Nearly 50 essays were submitted for the contest and of those, three finalists were selected. Anthony Jones, Maijah Mercer and Naqiyah Lee-Williams recited their essays before the audience and each received cash prizes of $40. Refreshments were served to all students afterward.

This event comes just months after Williford found itself on the short-list of schools being considered for a state takeover. "As someone who walked these halls and learned in these classrooms, I take it personal." Jones said of the possible takeover. "This is a problem that we must all work to fix --- not just the educators." he added. Jones has also implemented a reading program where high school students tutor second graders and is finalizing plans to take third graders on a trip to the North Carolina Supreme Court this spring.


Event Focuses on Literacy & Cultural History

Press Release