Toni Morrison Essay Contest for Young People
2024 Essay Prompt
At the Community Foundation, we believe in the power of voices—especially the ones just beginning to bloom. Join us in celebrating the legacy of our hometown hero, Toni Morrison, as we unveil the 2024 Toni Morrison Essay Contest for Young People for Lorain County students.
The 2024 Essay prompts are:
Questions about the essay contest?
Make a difference about something other than yourselves
If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it
Essay Contest Guidelines
- Students from Kindergarten through College may submit essays in one
of the following categories:
a) Elementary school (K-5) b) Middle school (6-8)
c) High school (9-12) d) College
- The essay must be 300 words or less, excluding the essay title and
cover page. The essay may be typed or written. Pictures in the elementary
categories are acceptable.
- Entries may be submitted online, by postal mail, or dropped off.
- Entries submitted must include a cover page indicating the following:
(1) your name (2) category (3) address (4) e-mail (student or guardian)
(5) phone number (6) school name
- The essay must be original and unpublished. AI can be used as a tool
but the expectation is that the submission is original work. Plagiarized
entries will be rejected.
Entries must be received by Friday, January 26th at 5:00 pm.
Please send your entries to:
Community Foundation of Lorain County
ATTN: Toni Morrison Essay Contest
9080 Leavitt Rd. Elyria, OH 44035
|Maximus||Georgas||Walter G. Nord School|
|Noah||Pysell||Toni Morrison Elementary|
|Ava||Salter||Toni Morrison Elementary **|
|Savannah||Tidmore||Toni Morrison Elementary**|
|Cecelia||Zseberan||General Johnnie Wilson Middle|
|Sadie||Harris||Amherst Junior High School|
|Jacob||Shawver||Westwood Middle School|
|Cianna||Ortiz||Amherst Junior High School|
|Jason||White||Elyria High School|
|Cali||Hildebrandt||North Ridgeville High School|
|Victoria||Venable||Marion L. Steele High School|
|Abigail||Clayton||Elyria High School**|
|Caitlin||Gardner||North Ridgeville High School**|
|Makalia||Jones||Lorain County Community College|
|Nicholas||DuFresne||Lorain County Community College|
2022 Theme: Environment
Explore the Essays Below
- Eva Jones St. Paul Lutheran School
- Ava Salter Toni Morrison Elementary
- Duy “Minh” Pham Toni Morrison Elementary
- Savanah Tidmore Toni Morrison Elementary
- Peyton Haney Toni Morrison Elementary
- Caitlin Gardner Ranger High Tech Academy
- Jada Martin Avon Middle School
- Maria Bak Amherst Junior High
- Abigail Dudek General Johnnie Wilson
- Ezra Jones St. Paul Lutheran School
- Alexia Nwankwo Avon High School
- Makayla Dotson Clearview High School
- Ramaya Lee-Mosely Elyria High School
- Jayleen Chatelin Marion L. Steele High School
- Kendall Bott Marion L. Steele High School
- Sereena Sperry Lake Ridge Academy
- Vera Menafee Oberlin College
2021 Theme: The Site of Memory
Congratulations to our 2021 Toni Morrison Scholars!
|Alena Aguayo||Ashland University|
|Tevonte Ammons||General Johnnie Wilson|
|Anna Bak||Nord Middle School, Amherst|
|Arianna Buga||Toni Morrison Elementary|
|Zuzanna Citak||Toni Morrison Elementary|
|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|
|Caitlin McComas||Clearview High School|
|Alissa Van Dress||Amherst Steele High School|
2020 Winners: How will you be defined?
Addesyn-Lorain Public Schools
I define myself as a daughter, sister, and a respectful person.
I will not be defined by what others think of me.
Asher- Oberlin City Schools
Throughout every high schooler’s life, a difficult decision comes up in their senior year.
Will you be attending college? And if so, which college will you attend?
These are obviously deeply meaningful questions for every individual; the answers will define your future over the next few years, if not the rest of your life, and should be taken seriously.
Hannah-Amherst City Schools
Self-esteem can make or break a person. Since we are all unique, we need to value ourselves and others. This is part of the diversity that makes up our nation and world.
Kendal-Amherst City Schools
I found people that like me for me, not the clothes that I wear. And when I have doubts about my worth, I know that I can go to them. They support me, just as I support them.
Owen-Oberlin City Schools
I will be defined by my actions. How I treat people. Speak to people. I want people to see me for who I am.
Kayla-University Mount Union
We can argue that how we identify doesn’t matter and that we are all the same as human beings.
I say that our intersecting identities are the most important things that make us unique.
Peyton-Lorain Public Schools
I want people to see me in a good, creative, and kind way. As well as a person with good leadership and manners.
Megan-John Carroll University
Since I’m studying Political Science in school, keeping up with current events is pretty important. Occasionally, a story from the obituaries will catch my eye, and I’ll read a few different stories recounting people’s lives.
When asked who I am, I could easily say: a low-income, first generation college student striving for success, or an Afro-Native woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma dedicated to seeking justice for her people.
Of course, these are both just surface level things. But when I really think about who am I sometimes I think about how I am a caregiver because all too young, Black girls are taught to grow up and take care of everyone before themselves.
Houston-Lorain Public Schools
I identify myself as a smart kid, son, a brave kid and a football player. I will be defined by the way I talk to people and how I do things. I won’t be defined by what others say I am.
Sariah- Lorain Public Schools
In general, I am a very considerate person of animals and people. I want people to think of me as a person they could talk to about anything.
Also, someone that will listen and be considerate of their feelings.
Sereena- Lake Ridge Academy
I am a word. My definition is my meaning. My definition is the purpose I serve in the sentence. The sentence is the life of each person who has ever borne witness to my existence.
“Who is the author of all these sentences then?”
Each student received a Toni Morrison book along with their award.
A Celebration of Toni Morrison
Learn about the life and legacy of Toni Morrision and view some of our 2020 Toni Morrison Essay award winners in this Today Show special.
This essay contest was organized to harness the energy, creativity, and initiative of our hometown hero Toni Morrison. Organized by: African American Community Fund, Community Foundation of Lorain County, 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.