HUSD Students Shine in Black History Month Essay Contest

The spirit of celebration filled the room as the Human Relations Council of the Greater Hemet, San Jacinto, and Menifee Region recently hosted its 20th Annual Black History Month Essay Contest awards ceremony on Thursday, February 29. This year, the spotlight shone brightly on the talented students of the Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) who submitted exceptional essays, each a tribute to historical Black changemakers and their profound impact on society.

The awards ceremony was truly a testament to the dedication and talent of the HUSD students. The essay contest tasked students with selecting influential Black figures from history, individuals whose legacies have inspired generations. What made this contest unique was the creative twist: students crafted essays from the perspective of an imagined fictional character with a personal relationship to their chosen historical figure. This approach infused their narratives with both historical accuracy and a very unique creative flair.

The students' essays, products of meticulous research and imaginative storytelling, left a lasting impact on the judges. Awards were granted to commend outstanding achievement, with prizes of $250 for 1st place, $150 for 2nd place, and Honorable Mentions receiving $75, in both middle school and high school categories. In addition, two students were honored with ESL Excellence Awards, recognizing their exceptional accomplishments in a language that is not their native language.

During the ceremony, students had the opportunity to share their essays with an eager audience. Their readings were marked by confidence and clarity, a reflection of their pride in their work and the stories they had crafted. The winners were determined by a committee comprised of Human Relations Council members, invited writers and journalists.

Here are the outstanding achievers from HUSD:


Middle School Results:

2nd Place: Carter Lane - Diamond Valley Middle School

Honorable Mentions:

Giselle Chino – Diamond Valley Middle School

Linda Isabel Padilla Infante - Diamond Valley Middle School


High School Results:

1st Place: Abigail McClymont - Western Center Academy

2nd Place: Misael Vargas Cabrera - Tahquitz High School

Honorable Mentions:

Vivian Xiao – Western Center Academy

Kathryn D'Costa – Tahquitz High School

Teyona Jones - Hemet High School


Presentation Awards:

Kathryn D'Costa - Tahquitz High School

ESL Excellence Awards:

Christian Leal - Diamond Valley Middle School

Giselle Chino - Diamond Valley Middle School

The evening was not just a celebration of these student’s academic achievements, but a tribute to the power of storytelling, research, and creativity. HUSD students showcased not only their writing prowess but also their deep understanding and appreciation of Black history and its enduring significance.

Congratulations to all the participants and winners of the Black History Month Essay Contest!