Dauphin County Commissioners announce 2018 cultural diversity essay contest winners

HARRISBURG, PA (July 18, 2018) Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III today announced the winners of the county’s 2018 Cultural Diversity Essay Contest. A total of 191 children age 6 to 18 entered the contest and shared poignant and personal experiences on cultural diversity in their neighborhoods and schools.

This year, students answered the following questions:

  • Age 6 – 10: What does diversity look like in your school or community? Draw a picture(s) to support your essay.
  • Age 11 – 14: Select two different schools in Dauphin County, research them and write about each of their cultures. What makes them unique?
  • Age 15 – 18:  Identify someone from your school or community who immigrated to America. Interview him/her about his/her culture and experience with immigrating to this country?

“Every year I’m impressed by the students’ maturity, open-mindedness and insight,” said Hartwick, who oversees the Cultural Celebration Task Force, which sponsors the essay contest. “You are best positioned to create a colorblind society that does not judge anyone by their skin color, nationality or gender.  Your leadership gives us the belief in the hope that Dr Martin Luther King set forth of inclusion, opportunity and access to all in this nation.”

Three winners were selected from each category. The essay contest winners are as follows:

Ages 6 to 9:

  • First place—Alexis Phan, North Side Elementary      School      
  • Second place—Gianna      Petrou, St. Margaret Mary School
  • Third place—Cash Ritter, North Side Elementary 

Ages 10 to 14:

  • First place—Ishana Bandyopadhyay, Central Dauphin  High School
  • Second place—Jayonna Hall, Susquehanna Middle School
  • Third place—Nicole Yang, Hershey Middle School

Ages 15 to 18:

  • First place—Nithika Radhakrishnan, Central  Dauphin High School
  • Second place—Mailinh Dang, Hershey High School  
  • Third place—Jennifer Nwokeji, Central Dauphin  High School

Winners were awarded certificates and prizes donated by the county’s Human Services Department and Cultural Celebration Task Force.

“We have made -- and will continue to make -- diversity a priority,” said Haste. ““The annual essay contest has been a great way to actively engage young people in thinking critically about cultural diversity and fostering understanding and appreciation.”

Serving on the judging panel this year were employees of ResCare Workforce Services and Dauphin County. 

“It’s a joy to recognize you for your outstanding work,” Pries said to the contest winners. “Your essays show that, despite our differences, we are one.”