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2024 Black History Student Writing Contest Winners

The Achievement Network launched its second student writing contest celebrating Black History Month on February 1, 2024. Students between grades 3-5 in our partner schools responded to standards-aligned prompts accompanying passages featuring prominent Black historical figures in ANet’s Quiz Tool. Teachers were able to grade entries and then submit these students’ entries into our contest submission form.

We received numerous submissions demonstrating rigor and comprehension of grade-level literacy standards. Read the prompts and winning submissions below. Congratulations to our winners and the educators who inspired their work!

3rd Grade

Writing Prompt: You have read George Washington Carver: The Peanut Scientist Born 1864 - January 5, 1943, by Fredrick and Patricia McKissack. Imagine you are George Washington Carver. Write a journal entry that reflects on part of his life from his point of view. Be sure to consider common elements of a journal entry and include details about Carver's life that you learned about in the text.

Passage: George Washington Carver: The Peanut Scientist

Born 1864 (?) - January 5, 1943

By Fredrick and Patricia McKissack

Name: Karmin

Grade: 3

Teacher: Cory Miller

School: Marion C. Seltzer

Life works in mysterious ways. One fall morning in 1896, I woke up a little woozy, I got up and checked the mail, it was from Booker T. Washington, I opened it up and read it. It said George will you come and teach in Tuskegee. I thought of all the African American lives I could change! I threw on my clothes and ran. I ran and I felt determined. I found a train and got on it, the train did not smell particularly good at all. It smelled like a wet dog, and no one likes the smell of wet dogs. I found my stop and got off. There I was at the Tuskegee Institute, where I found Mr. Washington and told him that I would be truly honored to teach at his school.

When I walked in there was no lab, barely a room. But I could not give up yet, we used things we found and created a lab for our class. I thought to myself that these young adults are a miracle. The school also had a farm, but the soil worked poorly. I thought the soil needed to rest so we decided to stop planting cotton and began to plant sweet potatoes and then cowpeas. When we grew cotton again it came back stronger than ever. However, our joy was short lived because the Boll Weevil came from Mexico and started eating all the cotton. What should we do now?

4th Grade

Writing Prompt: You have read Mae C. Jemison by Wade Hudson, a passage describing Mae C. Jemison’s journey to becoming the first black woman to travel to space. Imagine you are Mae C. Jemison on your first trip to space. Write a journal entry from Mae’s point of view that describes her feelings and experiences as she travels to space for the first time. Be sure to consider what you’ve learned about Mae’s life from the text.

Passage: Mae C. Jemison

By Wade Hudson

Winner: Dylan

Grade: 4th

Teacher: Leslie Phillips

School: Baton Rouge Center for Visual & Performing Arts

Dear Journal,

It was amazing! It was like becoming president or finding a new species of animals! I was wondering what the people outside were feeling. I was the first woman AND black person that was going to space. Then I felt a rumble, it sounded like a volcano. Then I heard booming voices. FIVE FOUR THREE TWO ONE!!! And we were off, through the atmosphere and stars and planets! It was starting to get pitch black when all the sudden, I started floating! I felt like a bird, flying! As light as a feather. I thought I could fly forever! It was lunchtime. We had peanut butter jelly, from a tube. This was because crumbs would fly everywhere when we ate. It was weird, but I got through it. Then, I did some experiments.  I had to look at plants and see how plants lived in space, how they grew, and see if they even survived. Most of the plants survived but were weird shapes. The Earth looked awesome from here, like a blue giant. Dinner was next, it was spaghetti with meatballs, in a tube. Then we all went to bed. We woke up at different times because time is different in space according to Einstein. We did the same thing every day. By the end it was smelly. We started to descend back to the Earth. I was happy and sad at the same time. The adventure to space was great. When we got back to the beautiful blue Earth, there were crowds waiting for us. They cried and cheered, "Yay!"   I found my family and they were so happy that I made it back from that amazing space trip.  I was in the atmosphere and I could breathe outside again!  Oh just how wonderful!  Then I went home and I haven't seen it for so long!  I went in and started writing in my journal, writing this.  Now I'm done and it's ready for you to read!

Yours truly,


5th Grade

Writing Prompt: You have read "Dreams," a poem by Langston Hughes expressing the importance of holding on to one's dreams. Write your own poetic response that expresses the importance of dreams. Be sure to consider the theme and poetic style of Hughes' poem.

Passage: Dreams

By Langston Hughes

1    Hold fast to dreams

       For if dreams die

       Life is a broken-winged bird

       That cannot fly.

5     Hold fast to dreams

       For when dreams go

       Life is a barren field

       Frozen with snow.

Winner 1: Kyle

Grade: 5th

Teacher: Lauren Senie

School: International School of Louisiana Uptown

Something that i want is probably some more friends

But when it's all up to them, then it depends


I want to make videos,ideas of my own

So when i see a watcher, my videos are shown.


I want to become an artist although i may not be the smartest

I want to spread my creativity, with those who doubt their own ability


I don't wanna be a chef i just wanna be good at cook’in

Because when i taste my moms good foods

My taste buds are quite shook’in


Glad you came and stuck around

And if you did your as bright as a diamond, waiting to be found

I'm just happy you read my poem with all your time that you have loaned

Winner 2: Ezra

Grade: 5th

Teacher: Lauren Senie

School: International School of Louisiana Uptown

They judged us with their eyes and buried us with snow,

but they didn’t know we were seeds waiting to grow.

They tried to take our dreams pushing us back,

but we rose up like an eagle ready to attack.


We flew over them sky high,

and made new history day and night

They kill us with their words,

but again we reigned superb

They kept us from what we needed,

but we came back when they knew we were mistreated


Black is unique, colorful, and vivid

And we stood tall even when we were timid

We tell stories of reclaiming power, songs, and dreams

The color of Black rising behind the scenes.


They judged us with their eyes and buried us with snow,

but they didn’t know we were seeds waiting to grow.

Reminder partners — passages are always available in our quiz tool. Check them out today!

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