Book Writing Contest Focusing on Tolerance and Diversity
The winner of this year’s Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge in the Delmarva Peninsula region is “Girl Dragons Can’t Fly!” written and illustrated by Emma Herdman from Charter School of Wilmington, in Wilmington, Del. Diverse Minds is a contest where high school students write and illustrate children’s books to help elementary school children celebrate tolerance and diversity. Herdman was announced the winner at an award ceremony at the Delmarva Power Conference Center on May 26.
This education and awareness initiative was created as part of B’nai B’rith programming that promotes tolerance and communicates a message of equality among all citizens. Funded by Delmarva Power, the contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America's young people and their families in an effort to eradicate prejudices and strengthen ties among today’s youth.
> Click here to read "Girl Dragons Can't Fly" and the other placing entries
In Herdman’s story “Girl Dragons Can’t Fly!,” Daisy the dragon is told that girl dragons can’t fly or breath fire and that she’s better off with her feet planted firmly on the ground. But she proves her classmates and parents wrong, showing them dragons are capable of doing the same things, no matter what gender they are.
At the ceremony, the finalists and winners were congratulated by Gary Stockbridge, president of Delmarva Power, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc.; John Allen, Jr., vice president of Delmarva Power; and Mark D. Olshan, associate executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International.
“Our customers and the communities we serve are important to us,” Stockbridge said. “We constantly strive to empower individuals through creativity and diversity in addition to providing safe and reliable service to our customers, helping to protect the environment and supporting various initiatives within our region. We cherish opportunities like the one presented by B’nai B’rith and look forward to continuing to build positive relationships and energize those we proudly serve.”
At the ceremony, Orrin White, youth engagement coordinator at the United Way Delaware, addressed the finalists, as well as 2014 Diverse Minds Delmarva winner Monica Keszler, also from the Charter School of Wilmington, who spoke about her experience with the program.
By placing first, Herdman secures a $5,000 scholarship and her book has been professionally published. It will be distributed to local schools, libraries and community organizations, as well as to the annual TODAY Show Holiday Toy and Gift Drive. Her book will also be published as an e-book and will be available on iTunes and Amazon for free download.
Second place winner Luke Martin from North Caroline High School in Greensboro, Md., wrote and illustrated “Blue” and will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Third place winner Ibukun Ope, from North East High School in North East, Md., wrote and illustrated “Crayonland” and will receive a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, Herdman’s teacher who oversaw the creation of their winning book will receive a $500 stipend to use for classroom or organizational materials. Charter School of Wilmington will also receive a $500 grant.
Over the last nine years, through the Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge, B’nai B’rith has published 26 original children’s books and awarded nearly $200,000 in college scholarships and grants. Thousands of these published books have also been donated to public schools and libraries around the country.
A diverse panel of judges from the worlds of education, the arts, business and government, along with B’nai B’rith International leaders, reviewed the submissions and selected the winners. Judges this year include: A diverse panel of judges from the worlds of education, the arts, business and government, along with B’nai B’rith International leaders, reviewed the submissions and selected the winners. Judges this year include: Susan S. Bunting, superintendent of Indian River School District; Dennis Dare, Ocean City town council member; and Anthony S. Goode, fire chief of the Wilmington Fire Department.
B’nai B’rith has enjoyed working in conjunction with Delmarva Power for the second year in a row as a part of our expanded partnership with Pepco Holdings Inc. Because of this expanded partnership, B’nai B’rith also held the Challenge in Washington, D.C., and again in southern New Jersey, thanks to generous support from Pepco and Atlantic City Electric.