Two Tacoma-area students are this year’s winners in a county-wide essay contest sponsored by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 23 and the Port of Tacoma.
Kenechukwu Ezeoke’s entry on civil and women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton earned her a first place award in the Advancement of Women’s Rights category, and the winner in the Black History category was Desean Garnett, who wrote about Malcolm X.
Ezeoke, a senior at Puyallup High School, moved to the United States from Nigeria in 2004. She plans to attend medical school. Garnett is a junior at Puyallup High School and hopes to attend the University of Washington. His long-term plans are to be a prosecuting attorney.
The students will read their papers on February 21 at Tacoma’s Pantages at a jazz concert and movie premiere event that kicks-off the February 22 “Celebration of Black History, Women and Labor: A Call to Conscience.”
A total of five cash awards were presented and each student that entered the essay contest received a complimentary ticket to the event.
The purpose of the contest is to promote and recognize students who learn from the experiences of past and current leaders and who can then apply this insight to improving our community for tomorrow.
“The Tacoma longshore workers have a long, rich history of diversity and community involvement,” said Conrad Spell, President of ILWU Local 23. “The ILWU realizes that education is the key to the future and is committing its resources to help improve students’ performance in Pierce County schools. We must encourage students of today to learn about those whose efforts helped earn dignity, respect and equal rights, not only in the work place, but for all citizens.”