Mary Beth Sallee
Reporter, Hart Co. News-Herald
Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States.
The local NAACP Cave Area Chapter recently hosted the Juneteenth Awareness essay and drawing contests as a way to celebrate the holiday and bring about understanding within the community.
The essay contest consisted of two divisions. The first division was for 5th through 8th graders in which they could submit a 200-300 word essay of what Juneteenth is and what it means to them and their family. The second division was for 9th through 12th graders to submit a 300-500 word essay of how they would relate the issues of Juneteenth and individual freedoms to today’s society.
The drawing contest was open to all ages, 21 and under, for individuals to draw and submit their interpretation of Juneteenth.
Winners were as follows:
- Faith Curry – 1st Place 5th-8th Grade Essay Contest, $100 & 1st Place Drawing Contest, $100;
- Jordyn Bethel – 2nd Place 5th-8th Grade Essay Contest, $50 & 2nd Place Drawing Contest, $50;
- Jayanah Nuckols – 3rd Place 5th-8th Grade Essay Contest, $25;
- Kenyan Wood – 1st Place 9th-12th Grade Essay Contest, $100;
- Natavia Gonzalez – 2nd Place 9th-12th Grade Essay Contest, $50 & 4th Place Drawing Contest, $15;
- Janiya Craine – 3rd Place 9th-12th Grade Essay Contest, $25 & 3rd Place Drawing Contest, $25.
Trevent Hayes, President of the NAACP Cave Area Chapter, recognized the winners at a Juneteenth celebration and reception held on Saturday, June 26 at the Bunche Community Center in Glasgow. The drawings were placed on display for all to view, and the essay contest winners read their submissions aloud. Framed certificates and cash prizes for the winners were sponsored by the NAACP Cave Area Chapter.
Beverly Tobin Ford, Secretary and Political Chair of the NAACP Cave Area Chapter, also served as a Chairman of the Juneteenth Awareness contests along with Alicia Morgan and Tony Oswald.
Ford stated that the contests not only allowed local youth to showcase their talent but also helped to educate them and others about Juneteenth.
“It was a very proud moment for me,” Ford said. “…I was just so proud that they (youth) took the time to do the research for the projects…It not only helped the young people who participated to have an awareness of what Juneteenth means, but it also helped adults in the community to have an awareness.”
In addition to a great amount of parental support for the youth who participated, Amanda Abell, Assistant Superintendent of Caverna Schools, was also present in support of her students.
“I’m proud of our Caverna students for participating in the NAACP Juneteenth essay and drawing contest,” Abell said. “It says a lot about kids who are willing to participate in something like this when they are off for the summer. It wasn’t a school assignment or something they had to do. They participated because they felt passionate about the topic, and they are pushing themselves to persevere and reach for high goals.”
The NAACP Cave Area Chapter meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Bunche Community Center in Glasgow. The organization is always accepting new members, and everyone is welcome to join the NAACP regardless of race.
Ford said that the NAACP Cave Area Chapter plans to make the Juneteenth Awareness essay and drawing contests an annual event.