2021 Student Writing Contest

Congratulations to the following 2021 Student Writing Contest winners:

  • Addie Johnson, West Ashley High School (Essay)
  • Braylon Ratcliff, Spring Valley High School (Essay)
  • Carter Lanier, Silver Bluff High School (Essay)
  • Imunique Herriott, Horry County Schools Early College High School (Essay)
  • Mishka Richards, Indian Land High School (Essay)

Contest Overview

South Carolina high school juniors and seniors are invited to honor outstanding South Carolina African Americans by participating in Dominion Energy and the South Carolina Department of Education’s Strong Men & Women in South Carolina History student writing contest. Five (5) winning essays will be chosen.


Many Americans are confronting the long history of racial violence in the United States that is often ignored and that has manifested itself in our political and social systems. One definition of social justice describes it as justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. What does social justice mean to you? How has a lack of social justice throughout American history affected minority communities? What actions can you take in support of social justice?

What do we mean when we use the term social justice? “The goal of social justice education is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society that is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.“ from Adams, M., Bell, L. A., & Griffin, P. (2016). Teaching for diversity and social justice (Third edition). New York Routledge.

Contest Rules

  • Submit your 500-word essay below by April 23, 2021 for a chance to win an Apple MacBook Air and $1,000 for your school!
  • Each entrant must be a high school junior or senior at a public or private high school in South Carolina. Homeschoolers also may apply; the $1,000 school award can be applied to a homeschooler association if the winner’s family has an active, dues-paying membership.
  • One winner will be selected from Five Regions (Midlands, Upstate, Lowcountry, Pee Dee, CSRA).
  • All entries must be original works that have not been published or submitted for publication anywhere else.
  • Entries should not exceed 500 words.
  • Entries become the property of the South Carolina Department of Education and will not be returned.
  • The South Carolina Department of Education and Dominion Energy reserve the right to use the winners’ names and entries for promotional purposes in all forms of media without notice on their official website, review, approval or compensation, except where prohibited by law.


  • Deadline for entries is April 23, 2021.
  • Judging will take place April 26-May 14, 2021.
  • Winners will be notified May 17-28, 2021. Winning essays will be posted to the websites of both the South Carolina Department of Education and Dominion Energy.


  • Winning students will receive an Apple MacBook Air.
  • Winning students’ schools will receive an award of $1,000.
  • Winning students and their school representatives MUST attend the ceremony to receive their awards.

Judging Criteria

Content Reflection of careful and thorough thought
Focus Prompt questions must be answered, and main idea clearly articulated, or essay will be disqualified
Support Relevant, quality details about important thoughts and concepts
Style Essay flows well and shows good word choice and structure
Mechanics Correct use of grammar, spelling and punctuation


Please email us at scafricanamerican@ed.sc.gov with any questions.