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5 students win prizes for schools in writing contest

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Five S.C. high school students have been selected as winners of the second annual Strong Men & Women in South Carolina History student writing contest, presented by the S.C. Department of Education and Dominion Energy.

The contest, which builds on the education department’s long-standing South Carolina African American History Calendar, encouraged juniors and seniors to write a 500-word essay about an African American with ties to the Palmetto State who has been an inspiration in the students’ life. 

Winners were selected from the Midlands, Lowcountry, Upstate, Pee Dee and Central Savannah River Area and will receive an Apple MacBook Air. Winners’ schools or home school associations will be awarded $1,000, and the students will also be recognized during the unveiling ceremony of the 2023 South Carolina African American History Calendar in October.

The winners are:

  • Tyleigh Spiller, junior - Homeschool/Edgefield (CSRA)
  • Hayley Hylton, junior - Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Lowcountry)
  • Shaniya Jeffcoat, senior - Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School (Midlands)
  • Jayla Jones, junior - Lake City Early College High School (Pee Dee)
  • Sarai Winkler, junior - Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (Upstate)

“For the second year in a row, we have witnessed so many talented young writers share their incredible stories of inspiration,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said in a news release. “I want to thank all of the students who participated this year, and I congratulate our five winners: Tyleigh, Hayley, Shaniya, Jayla, and Sarai.”

The winning essays can be viewed online.

“In South Carolina, one of our greatest natural resources is our people,” said Keller Kissam, president of Dominion Energy South Carolina. “We are honored to spotlight these talented high school students and to give them the opportunity to tell us, in their own words, about the men and women who have had an everlasting impact on them and our great state.”

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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