The second annual Black History Month Essay Contest will be held again, and after a very impressive first-year effort last February, Councilor Gerly Adrien and Dr. Omar Easy are looking to enhance the scholarship opportunities by holding a noteworthy fundraiser on Jan. 30 to kick off the effort.
The online fundraiser will be on Jan. 30 and will feature a keynote presentation by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and speeches by two of last year’s winners. The contest is specifically for students in Everett who are seniors in high school, both in the Everett Public Schools (EPS) and outside EPS. This year, the essays will be about Black influential leaders again, but the topics were chosen by Everett High’s Empowering Black Excellence Club.
Adrien said the effort has already raised $1,000 off the bat, and they hope to really enhance the effort on Jan. 30 at the fundraiser, which has a suggested donation of $10 per person.
There are seven high school senior winners, five from Everett High and two from non-EHS schools. The essays are due by Friday, Feb. 18, and winners will be announced at a celebration on Friday, Feb. 25.
Easy said he is proud to be able to give back to the young people in Everett, just as he was given to when he was at Everett High School. Of course, his path led to college football at Penn State University and becoming a professional football draft pick, and later a noted professional education administrator. That, he said, has allowed him since 2002 to give back through the Easy Way Foundation. That Foundation also supports the Black History Month Essay Contest scholarships now too, he said.
“I think it’s a great thing we’re trying to continue to support and be advocates for young people,” he said. “I started my Foundation in 2002 right after I got drafted to help young people. I haven’t stopped giving back to Everett no matter where I’ve been or played. Even though I’m not part of the school system anymore, I know some people did a great thing for me when I was in high school in Everett and I owe a debt to EPS. This is all about the kids and helping them to win a scholarship…It’s also about helping to promote Black history, which has been suppressed over time. Given the events of 2020, I do expect we’ll have some great essays.”
Adrien said she agrees that the contest is about giving back to students in their hometown.
“We both grew up in Everett and we were both able to do some great things in our lives,” said Adrien. “We want to be able to give back to our hometown in this way. We feel like we are the two Black leaders that are looked to in our City. We plan on doing this a very long time.”
Easy said he has already seen great generosity from residents of Everett and teachers in the school system towards the contest, and hopes more will considering contributing at the fundraiser on Jan. 30.