Library of Virginia    Dominion

The results are in!

Each year high school students throughout Virginia are invited to honor outstanding African Americans by participating in our annual student writing contest. Four winning essays are chosen, one from each of the four regions in Virginia that Dominion serves.

This year students were asked to reflect on the following prompt:

John Mitchell, Jr.One of this year’s honorees is John Mitchell Jr. (1863-1929), editor of the influential African American newspaper The Richmond Planet. As editor, he fought against racism and for African-American advancement in politics, business, and education.

Born enslaved in Henrico County, Mitchell graduated valedictorian from the Richmond Normal School and worked as a teacher before becoming editor of the fledgling Richmond Planet in 1884, a position he held for more than forty years.  Mitchell, known as the “fighting editor,” assisted in organizing a black boycott of the Richmond trolley system and gained notoriety for promoting the Planet’s strong anti-lynching stance.  The legacy of Mitchell’s Richmond Planet endures; his countless editorial and articles condemning racial injustice “gave meaning to the lives of his readers” long before the beginning of the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.

Consider an issue or problem that is keeping your community (be it local, state, national, or global) from achieving its full potential.  Describe that issue and explain why it is so important to you.  How would you go about overcoming it?

We are pleased to announce that the following students have been selected as winners of their respective regions.  Each has won an HP laptop computer and each winner’s school will receive $1,000 from Dominion.  Congratulations to them and thanks to all the students who submitted essays.  They were thought provoking and stimulating.  Keep an eye out for next year’s contest!

2014 Student Writing Contest Winners
2014 Essay Contest winners, from left to right: Garrett Jones, Jocelyn Lee, Lexi Maycock, and Tyler Phillips.

Central Region
Jocelyn Lee - (10th grade)
Franklin Military Academy 
City of Richmond
Principal: Sheron Carter-Gunter
full essay »
essay presentation »

Eastern Region
Garrett Jones - (11th grade)
Greenbrier Christian Academy
City of Chesapeake
Principal: Dr. Sam Botta
full essay »
essay presentation »

Northern Region
Lexi Maycock - (9th grade) 
West Springfield High School 
Fairfax County
Principal: Mr. Mark Greenfelder
full essay »
essay presentation »

Western Region
Tyler Phillips - (12th grade)
 Turner Ashby High School
Rockingham County
Principal: Mr. Steven Walk
full essay »
essay presentation »