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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.

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

Honorable Mentions

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

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