Essay Winners Announced

12 Writers Powerfully Capture Ms. Morrison’s Enduring Legacy 

February 17, 2021

Community Foundation of Lorain County is proud to announce the 2021 Toni Morrison Scholars. Honoring the Nobel Prize-winning late author and Lorain County native, the Community Foundation received more than 80 essay submissions from local elementary through college student writers. 

“It is a joy and privilege for the Community Foundation to host this essay contest for Lorain County youth,” said Brittany Lovett, Marketing and Communications Officer at the Community Foundation. “Toni Morrison is our hometown hero who challenged and inspired people worldwide to share their unique experiences. It’s our honor to connect the younger generation to her captivating stories while encouraging them to create their own.”   

The 2021 winners are:  

Alena AguayoAshland University
Tevonte AmmonsGeneral Johnnie Wilson Middle School, Lorain
Anna BakNord Middle School, Amherst
Arianna Alysse Buga Toni Morrison Elementary, Lorain
Zuzanna Citak Toni Morrison Elementary, Lorain
Abigail Clayton Elyria High School 
Kieshawn Elliott Lorain High School 
Jeremy Faris  St. Mary’s School, Elyria
Ezra Jones St. Paul Lutheran, Westlake
Jay Kuznar General Johnnie Wilson Middle School, Lorain
Caitlin McComas Clearview High School
Alissa Van Dress Amherst Steele High School    

The writing prompt for this year’s contest “The Site of Memory”, based on Morrison’s storytelling that paints vivid pictures of the people, places, family, and the familiar details of everyday people’s extraordinary lives. Students received the prompt to reflect on how people and places have informed and sustained them during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Established in 2020, the Lorain County Toni Morrison Essay Contest for Young People sought to harness the energy, creativity, and initiative of Ms. Morrison. In December 2020, Ohio proclaimed her birthday, February 18th, as Toni Morrison Day to honor the award-winning author, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

To honor the late Nobel Prize winner, Today All Day, an extension of the TODAY Show hosted “A Celebration of Toni Morrison,” which featured eight of the 2020 Toni Morrison essay contest winners. The program is available on Today All Day,, or YouTube.  

The essay contest is a collaborative effort between the African American Community Fund, Community Foundation, Lorain Historical Society, Lorain Public Library System, Lorain County Alliance of Black School Educators, Lorain County Urban League, Lorain County Section of National Council of Negro Women.