Jefferson Lecture Essay Contest Winners Announced

In October, the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) collaborated with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to support teachers and high school students in attending the NEH's 2022 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, delivered by Andrew Delbanco and entitled “The Question of Reparations: Our Past, Our Present, Our Future.” Andrew Delbanco is an author, professor of American studies at Columbia University, and president of the Teagle Foundation.

We were thrilled to welcome teachers and students from schools in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. After the lecture, students who attended were invited to participate in an essay contest in which they were asked to reflect on the lecture and the case for reparations more generally. We are pleased to announce the winner and two runner ups in that essay competition.

First Place:
Jaden Payne of Forest Park High School in Baltimore City, Maryland

Runners-Up: 
Mia McIlwain of St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.
Zindine Herst of Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

The winner will receive a $1,000 prize and two runner-ups will receive a $500 prize each. 

“The NEH Jefferson Lecture is a yearly opportunity to consider how the humanities help us address society’s most pressing challenges,” said NHA Executive Director Stephen Kidd. “This year, we were so grateful to welcome students to the lecture and to read their subsequent reflections on the question of reparations, drawing both on the lecture and their own lived experiences. I want to extend special congratulations to our first place and runner up writers and thank you to all of the students who attended the Jefferson Lecture and reflected on it with such compelling essays.” 

"Intentionally involving students and teachers in the 2022 Jefferson Lecture is an important step forward," said NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick. "NCTE commends the dedicated students who tapped the lecture to expand their thoughts and ideas in essays. This competition exemplifies how writers and readers build critical thinking skills."

We are grateful to the Teagle Foundation for its sponsorship of this initiative.


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