RPS essay winners receive cash awards
Holly Rodriguez | 3/16/2023, 6 p.m.
Three RPS students received cash awards for their winning submissions to the Game Changer writing contest sponsored by the Richmond Crusade for Voters and Richmond Public Schools.
Mackenzie White from Westover Elementary received $100; Alison De Leon from River City Middle School received $250; and Ana Santos Ajualip from George Wythe High School received $500. The winning essays were selected from more than 120 student submissions across the district.
The contest took place Dec. 17, 2022, through Feb. 1 of this year. The winners were announced at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School on Feb. 22.
Open only to RPS students, entrants were required to write about the importance of education, their feelings about gun violence, how COVID-19 affected their lives and other topics.
Garry Callis, the founder of Children of Light, a nonprofit founded to help children with challenges at home and in school, organized the event. He also is a member of the Richmond Crusade for Voters’ education committee. The challenge was created, he said, because in his work with RPS students, he has seen a serious deficit in writing and reading proficiency.
“The predatory economic system is feasting on the failure of the school system (by) not teaching our children properly, especially in underserved Black communities,” he said. The contest is a step toward reconciling the education of students in writing.
Mr. Callis said the Crusade plans to offer the contest again next year.