Dear Students,

Thank you for participating in the First Annual Durham Kwanzaa Essay Contest!

Below are the criteria for this year’s essay.

Happy Writing!



The Adrinkra symbol above translates as NEA OPE SE OBEDI HENE, or “He/She/They who want(s) to lead in the future must first learn to serve.”  With this in mind, envision yourself as a leader of tomorrow and choose a Kwanzaa principle that is most important to you.  In your essay, explain which of the seven Kwanzaa principles is most needed by Afro-Future leaders.  Provide examples of how this principle can be activated, giving examples of how you will make it all happen.


  • Length:
    • High School:  Essays must be 1000 words.
    • Middle School:  Essays must be 500 words.
  • Only 1 (one) entry per student.
  • Include the following in the HEADING:
    • Student’s name
    • Student’s school and grade
    • Parent/Guardian contact number
    • Parent/Guardian e-mail

Who: Participating students can be public, private or homeschooled.

When: Essays must be submitted by December 20th, 2017 @ 6pm via the following google form via  We apologize that there will be no extensions and no exceptions to this due date and time.

Prizes: Prizes will be given as follows:

  • The 1st place essayists, for both high school and middle school, will receive $50, and a
    • Polish and Performance Preparation Session with a local artist TBD.  Winning essayists will get feedback to help polish their essays and receive coaching on how to deliver their prose to an audience.  
  • The runner-ups will receive:  TBD

The authors of the top two winning essays, for high school and middle school, will be invited to read their essays at a Hayti Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration to be held on Dec. 26th at 7pm, located at the Hayti Heritage Center.  NOTE:  Authors may opt to have their essays read aloud on their behalf.

  • All other entrants will receive a certificate for their participation or an honorable mention certificate.