The Black Family: Representation, Identity & Diversity — “Moving The World Forward.”

With that theme in mind, students from kindergarten through 12th grade borough-wide, were invited to participate in the 10th annual NAACP Black History contest. This contest  is held every year, in conjunction with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

Usually, judges must sort through as many as 300 entries. This year, there were 78 entries. That may have been just another consequence of COVID-19 disrupting school routines, according to Wendy Dominique, the Black History contest committee chairperson.

Every year, the contest hosts a different theme, she said.

Participation requirements vary depending upon age. K-3 students must submit a coloring project. Students in grades 4-6 must create a poster. Grades 7-8 are asked to create original artwork and write a 150-word essay relating to the theme. Students in grades 9-12 must create original artwork and write a 250-word essay relating to the theme.

Volunteers then judge all the entries.

“Our numbers were low this year, due to the pandemic,” Dominique said. “Our community was very supportive. Community members and NAACP members judged and had difficulty making the great decision of what projects would be first to third place.”

Bett Schaffhauser donated the cost of all prizes and Walmart donated tablets. The winners were awarded everything from a laptop computer, to Chromebooks, iPads, tablets and gift cards ranging in value from $25 to $75.

Not every winner was available to have their photograph taken.

Here is the list of winners:


Grades K-13 — 43 applicants

1st place - Gianna Zanazzo, Barnette Elementary School

2nd place - Hatti Rice, Two Rivers

3rd place - Qulvaq Hoak, Weller Elementary School

4th place - Ilany Shut Imbert, North Pole Elementary


Grades 4-6 — 9 applicants

1st place - Shelby Lamica, Hunter Elementary

2nd place - Shooter Jaymes, Arctic Light Elementary

3rd place - Blair Woods, Barnette Elementary

4th place - Aza Armstrong, Hunter Elementary


Grades 7-8 — 22 applicants

1st place - Angelica Amegashie, Randy Smith Middle School

2nd place - Jacob Powell, Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School

3rd place - Nico Mesa, Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School


Grades 11-12 — 4 applicants

1st place - LeDay Williams, Lathrop High School

2nd place - Tobia Paige, Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School

3rd place - Essence Slate, Lathrop High School

4th place - Sarah Johnson, North Pole High School


Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris