Toni Morrison Essay Contest for Young People
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.
2021 Theme: The Site of Memory
In the narrative, The Site of Memory, Toni Morrison reflects upon the importance of people, places, family, and the familiar details of everyday people’s extraordinary lives. Toni Morrison used her imagination to write stories about the lives of ordinary individuals in a unique way. This year’s writing prompt is: Reflect upon how have people and places informed and sustained you during this pandemic.
Questions about the essay contest?
1. Essays may be submitted by students Kindergarten through College in one of the following categories:
a) Elementary school (K-5) b) Middle school (6-8) c) High school (9-12) d) College
2. The essay must be 700 words or less, excluding the essay title and cover page. The essay may be typed or printed. Pictures with elementary categories are acceptable.
3. Entries may be submitted online, by postal mail or dropped off.
4. Entries submitted must include a cover page indicating:
(1) your name (2) category (a,b,c,d) (3) address (4) e-mail (student or guardian) (5) phone number (6) school name.
5. The essay must be original and unpublished. Plagiarized entries will be rejected.
All submissions must be from Lorain County residents.
Entries must be received by February 12, 2021 by 5:00pm.
Please send your entries to Community Foundation of Lorain County ATTN: Toni Morrison Essay Contest 9080 Leavitt Rd. Elyria, OH 44035 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Each category a, b, c and d: 1st-$75 Gift card 2nd-$50 Gift card 3rd-$25 Gift card
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.
Checkout some of our 2020 Lorain County Toni Morrison Essay Contest for Young People winners in this Toni Morrison Special.