Barbara Jordan Essay Competition Winners Announced
By Jeanne Acton, UIL Journalism Director | Friday, May 25, 2012 10:28 AM
Dr. Aileen T Bumphus, Executive Director of the Gateway Program in the DDCE, presents Roger Cain from LASA his award for winning the state contest.
Photo by Jeanne Acton
In early May the 12 regional finalists of UIL’s newest contest, the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition filled a banquet room at the AT&T Conference Center to receive their awards and hear excerpts from some of the winning papers.
David Trussell, the contest administrator, also announced the state winners at the dinner. Roger Cain from the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin won first place and a $2,500 scholarship. Rachel Green from Pittsburg High School won second place and a $1,500 scholarship and Stephen Mangum from Lee High School in Midland won third place and a $1,000 scholarship.
“We had a great first year, with entries from regions of the state that had not participated previously,” Trussell said. “The Barbara Jordan essay competition came to us with a wonderful legacy already established over the past 16 years, so our goal was to maintain that tradition this year and then to build on that as we grow and develop the competition for the future.”
The contest was established in 1996 and was most recently administrated by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) of The University of Texas at Austin. The UIL is also a unit of DDCE, so that affiliation will continue.
The purpose of the competition is to document African-American historical contributions that may have previously been overlooked and to encourage students to explore the history of their own communities.
Although the theme, “African Americans in Texas: Past and Present” remains the same every year, the entries vary widely because students gather unique first-person accounts from across the state. This year was no exception. The entries were diverse and well developed. Trussell said this made judging a challenging process.
“We had a great cadre of judges from different regions of the state, and they gave us an outstanding group of regional finalists,” he said. “From that group of finalists, the top three papers were chosen as our state winners.”
Trussell said he hopes participation in the contest continues to grow because the contest “provides such an exciting opportunity for students to learn about the contributions of African Americans in Texas and in their own communities.”
“Through that valuable educational process, they also enter in competition not only for awards, but also to have their work added to the historical record,” he said. “The essays of all regional finalists are added to the archives of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at UT-Austin.”
Nadajalah Bennett, Shepherd Mullens: The Start of Something New, Bowie High School, Arlington
Caroline Bricker, The Legendary Legacy of Henry Ossian Flipper, Lago Vista High School
Roger Cain, Giving Back Through Public Service: The Life of Attorney David A. Talbot Jr., Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Austin
Ricquel Golding, African Americans in Texas: Past and Present, Judson High School, Converse
Nichole Green, The Voice That Never Left: The Story of Barbara Smith Conrad, Pittsburg High School
Rachel Green, A Journey of Hope: The Story of Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson, Pittsburg High School
Joseph Hall, In This Corner, Jack Johnson!, Lee High School, Midland
Sergio Infante, Estebanico's Tale: It All Begins with a Shipwreck, Carnegie Vanguard High School, Houston
Stephen Mangum, Breaking Barriers: The 1966 Texas Western Basketball Team, Lee High School, Midland
Haley Rhodes, I Know So Now, Lee High School, Midland
Jody Settle, Soaring into History: Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman, Brazoswood High School, Clute
Amy Woodhull, Beyond the Call of Duty: Doris Miller, Lago Vista High School