Diversity, equity, inclusion essay contest to award $500 for first place | Schools


Fort Wayne high school students have a chance to win up to $500 by letting their voice be heard.

That voice would be expressed in a “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Why it Matters” essay contest sponsored by The Journal Gazette.

Ashley Sloboda, our education reporter, is taking the lead on a data-supported project that explores diversity, equity and inclusion discussions that have stirred culture and curriculum concerns, particularly in area K-12 districts that have grown more diverse in recent years. The project will also address academic achievement and related matters.

While we will be talking to educators, school leaders and parents, we believe the project will also benefit from the voice of students. That’s where our essay contest comes in.

We are inviting high school students in Fort Wayne to address, in 500 to 600 words, the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. The essays should convey why they think it is important to feel a sense of belonging in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. They should also address what sort of efforts they see being taken or that could be taken to ensure a culture where all students are welcomed, valued and encouraged to succeed.

The deadline for typed essays to be emailed for judging is about a month away. Money for the first-, second- and third- place essay winners will be provided from The Journal Gazette through an Education Writers Association Reporting Fellowship Program.

First-place winner will receive $500; the second-place winner will receive $250; and third-place winner will receive $100.

The essay contest rules:

• Must be original work, submitted in English, with limited guidance from others. Information and quotes from other sources must be accurately attributed.

• Length is 500 to 600 words, typed.

• Content should address the need for and importance of being valued and accepted in local schools, including in classrooms and extracurricular activities. Students can express what they feel like when they are not accepted and can also provide specific examples. The essays should also include examples and/or suggestions for how teachers, other staff, and student peers can genuinely embrace inclusion.

• Essay submission is limited to one per student, and it must be included in the email.

• Essays should be emailed to [email protected] by 5 p.m. Aug. 24, 2022, and the email subject line should be “DEI Essay.”

The top of the entries must include:

• The full, legal name of the student submitting it.

• The student’s grade level as of August 2022 and school they are attending.

All entries become the property of The Journal Gazette, which will publish the winning essays in print and online. Excerpts or complete essays from other submissions may also be published. A photo of the top winners will be published.

Essays will be judged by experienced writers and editors. Winners will be notified in October. Submissions that do not meet the stated guidelines will be deemed ineligible.


Mike Murray• , a Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District board member, was appointed to the Legislative Committee of the Indiana School Boards Association to help direct the development of the association’s advocacy agenda for 2023. Committee members convened July 15 for a daylong meeting to identify and discuss the annual legislative priorities and foundational statements. Their recommendations will be presented to the association’s delegate assembly for formal approval at the annual fall conference in October.


Concordia Lutheran High School has named Matthew Konow, a 1991 alumnus, as its new chief advancement officer. He will start Aug. 1.


Megan Cripe• took over July 1 as principal of Southwick Elementary School. She most recently was the school’s assistant principal.


• Zimmer Biomet contributed $1.25 million to establish the Fellowship Education Improvement and Innovation grant, which is aimed at incentivizing fellowship programs to provide new and unique training opportunities. Zimmer Biomet partnered with the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons as the grant’s founding sponsor. Go to www.aahks.org/fellowship-grant-program for information, including how to apply and deadlines.

Indiana Tech

• Fifteen Parkview Health executives completed Indiana Tech’s Leveraging Engagement and Action in Diversity executive certificate program. The Parkview team began the program in late March, with the final class session taking place at the university’s corporate engagement center June 17. Students in the program complete a total of six class sessions in order to earn their certificate. It equips professionals with skills to lead and transform an organization’s culture, help managers and executives become more understanding, and lead and implement inclusive practices. Indiana Tech will begin the next session Sept. 15. Go to indianatech.edu/leadcertificate for information.


Olan Griffiths• of Fort Wayne has been promoted to director of information technology services at Manchester University after working as interim director for two months.


Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care recognized Amber Nunn• of Kiddie Academy of southwest Fort Wayne as the Teacher of the Year. The award was given at the brand’s 2022 annual conference to an educator who has exceeded standard performance in all areas associated with classroom instruction as well as child interactions, professional behavior and overall program quality.


• The South Side High School Class of 1962 will hold its 60th reunion Aug. 20 at the History Center on Berry Street. Call Lane Grile Ross at 260-438-5710, Diane Fredrick McArdle at 260-402-6696 or Susie Hines Muncy at 260-615-0051 before Aug. 5 to register.

Saint Francis

Clifford Buttram• is the University of Saint Francis’ new division director for the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership. He also continues in his role as graduate business instructor, graduate business instructor coordinator and Master of Business Administration program director.

Saint Francis will hold Blue and White Days from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Thursday and Aug. 11. Incoming high school seniors and juniors and their families are invited to campus for an admissions presentation, tour, faculty presentation and lunch. Contact the USF Office of Admissions at 260-399-8000 or email [email protected] for information.•

• Saint Francis adjunct faculty member Nicholas Messina• received the best conceptual paper award for “Millennials and the Motivation to Lead: Is a Transformational Leader a Catalyst or Barrier?” written by Tracy H. Porter, Michele L. Heath, Nicholas Messina and Scott C. Bible, at the Eastern Academy of Management 59th annual meeting.


Trine University promoted three staff and restructured its College of Graduate and Professional Studies, home to TrineOnline, to accommodate growth in online courses and programs. Brittni Heiden is now the executive director of academic operations for TrineOnline; Joshua Pranger is the senior academic director; and Anuja Shukla is director of advising and student success.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email [email protected].

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email aslobod[email protected] at least two weeks before the desired publication date.

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