The Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity (CRE2) at Washington University in St. Louis is excited to announce a new opportunity for 9th- to 12th-grade students in the St. Louis area.

Best High School Papers in Race/Ethnicity

CRE2 awards three awards of $500 to St. Louis Area High School students each year. These awards are awarded annually to St. Louis metropolitan region high school students in grades 9-12 for papers that demonstrate creativity and potential in how issues of race/ethnicity are thought about and understood using the following essay prompt.

For the program’s inaugural year, St. Louis area high school students wrote and submitted papers based on the following prompt.

Essay Prompt
Please write an essay on why you believe the study of race and ethnicity is important and how studying race and ethnicity can benefit communities. Feel free to include examples from history (especially those based in the St. Louis region) and personal experiences to help support your argument.

2022 Awardees

Sakenah Lajkem

Parkway West High School, Class of 2024

Paper title: Race is Not a Scary Word

The study of race and ethnicity should be just as important as the study of Math or English. It develops our empathy, and helps us embrace our differences and learn from history, making sure we do not repeat it.

Sakenah Lajkem

Tariq Lashley

Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Class of 2022

Paper title: We Needed Black Studies Ten Years Ago

Tariq will attend the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in the Fall of 2022.

If we as children were taught what race really was, and how racism—even the small jokes—built up into a wild entity of our creation, I do not think we would be where we are now.

Tariq Lashley

Marlee Williams

Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, Class of 2024

Paper title: The True Colors of Race in St. Louis

I as a child was taught about the Albert Einsteins and Thomas Edisons, but didn’t learn that Black people invented the alphabet and paper until I taught myself the real history of America.

Marlee Williams

2022 Honorable Mentions

  • Vyra Cooper, Lindbergh High School
  • Brianna Czuppon, Rockwood Summit High School
  • Mekdes Desta, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Eleanor Fister, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Grayson Francis, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Isabella Huang, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Sophia Liu, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Will Loynd, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Destini Rogers, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Amyah Sloan, Marquette High School
  • Mariah Thomas, Ladue Horton Watkins High School