WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- What does courage mean to you?
Thursday, 35 students from all around D.C. shared stories of their own courageous acts as part of a 26-year-strong contest sponsored by local non-profit, Global Harmony Through Personal Excellence.
Wynter Jackson went first. She is in 6th grade and told a story about overcoming her fear of making new friends, "I learned that my fears can keep me from sharing who I am to those around me," she said.
Zimiego Smith is a 6th grade student at Basis DC. He talked about standing up for others, "My sister is different from the other kids her age because she has Asberger's syndrome." Zimiego is so shy, he says giving his speech was tough. But when his sister was being bullied, he dug deep within himself and did something he'd never done. He says, "I went up to the boy and told him his words are both hurtful and mean. "
Tanaye Bridges was a first place winner. She spoke out about suicide prevention, after her cousin took his life, "It's hard without Rocky in my family, it's hard to even think about." But, she says it is important to talk about so people know about this widespread issue.
Ay Okuluye spoke about acceptance, saying "It starts with the realization that I could try to run from the things that make me who I am, but I can never hide forever."
Many of the students won cash prizes as well. The essayists are in grades four through nine. The event took place at the Summer Museum in NW DC. The essay contest, called "Celebration of Youth," was open to all DCPS and DCPCS students. A list of winners is below:
Grades 4 to 6 Winners
First Place: Alessandra Selassie – Grade 6, Basis DC, Ms. Emily Culp
Second Place: Zimiego Smith - Grade 6, Basis DC, Mrs. Emily Culp
Third Place: Sara Brodsky – Grade 5, F. S. Key Elementary, Ms. Williams
Fourth Place: Ugo Ulu – Grade 4, DC Prep Edgewood, Ms. Tonya Combs
Fifth Place: Dante´ Venable – Grade 5, DC Prep Edgewood, Ms. Antunez
Sixth Place: Wynter Jackson – Grade 6, John Burroughs Education Campus, Ms. Shendrina Alexander-Walker
Grades 7 to 9 Winners
First Place: Tanaye Bridges – Grade 7, Raymond Education Campus, Ms. Monica Jones-Martinez
Second Place: Ay Okuleye – Grade 9, School Without Walls, Ms. Tankea Parascandolo
Third Place: Meashja Hamilton - Grade 9, Ballou SHS, Shajena Erazo & K. Crutcher
Fourth Place: Martha Velasquez – Grade 8, Raymond EC, Ms. M. Jones-Martinez
Fifth Place: Jordin McFadden – Grade 7, Kelly Miller Middle School, Ms. Reed
Sixth Place: Abiola Olugbuyi – Grade 8, John Burroughs EC, Ms. Alexander-Walker
Lekabel Abul – Grade 8, McKinley Technology Education Campus, Ms. Sarah Elwell (Librarian)
Christopher Allen – Grade 9, Frank W. Ballou SHS, Ms. Shajena Erazo & Ms. Kathy Crutcher
Elvir Berisha - Grade 8, Whittier Education Campus, Ms. Willis and Ms. Abby Smith
Tra'Don Bibb – Grade 5, Thomson Elementary, Ms. Jacqueline Bruce-Yamin
Pernell Brown – Grade 6, Kelly Miller Middle School, Ms. Reed
Charity Chukwu – Grade 7, Kelly Miller Middle School, Ms. Reed
Marbin Cruz-Lopez – Grade 5, Thomson Elementary, Ms. Jacqueline Bruce-Yamin
Jhordy Flores- Amaya – Grade 8, Whittier E C, Ms. LaFonda Willis & Abby Smith
Jonah Gersten - Grade 6, Basis DC, Mrs. Emily Culp
Eleanor Holt - Grade 6, Basis DC, Mrs. Emily Culp
Gerald McBrayer – Grade 9, Frank W. Ballou SHS, Ms. Shajena Erazo & Ms. Kathy Crutcher
De'Shawna Morris - Grade 7, Kelly Miller Middle School, Ms. Reed
Mya Pauls – Grade 7, Kelly Miller Middle School, Ms. Lewis
Jasmin Perrier – Grade 8, Raymond EC, Mrs. Monica Martinez
Tanisha Smith – Grade 7, Whittier Education Campus, Ms. LaFonda Willis
Breonia Thomas – Grade 7, Raymond EC, Ms. M. Jones-Martinez
Sabiha Tonni - Grade 4, Marie Reed Elementary, Ms. Tiffany Ross
Genesis Torres – Grade 8, Raymond Education Campus, Ms. M. Jones-Martinez
Christian Trapp – Grade 8, John Burroughs EC, Ms. Alexander-Walker
Jessica Villatoro – Grade 6, John Burroughs EC, Ms. Alexander-Walker
Paris Whealton – Grade 7, Kelly Miller Middle School, Ms. Reed
Kiarra Wilkins – Grade 6, Kelly Miller Middle School, Ms. Christina Tilghman
Lauren Xu, Grade 6, Basis DC, Ms. Emily Culp