On May 18, 2022

Rutland NAACP announces student contest winners

Submitted
Addie Lentzner, 17, of Arlington High School, won the written category of the NAACP contest, writing about the importance of schools teaching anti-racist education.

Two local high school students have been declared the winners of the second annual Black History Month contest, sponsored by the Rutland Area branch of the NAACP and the Vermont Student Anti Racist Network (VSARN). The contest challenged students to respond to a prompt in a written or visual arts form, with a prize of $500 in each category. This year’s prompts invited students to choose from a number of laws and policies, such as qualified immunity or bans on so-called critical race theory and demonstrate how that policy perpetuates systemic racism.

The winner in the visual art category was Christelle Poteau, 17, of Mount Saint Joseph Academy, with a digital art piece, “Mistakes are there to be learned from,” which references the banning of books.

Submitted
Christelle Poteau 17, of Mount Saint Joseph Academy, was the winner in the visual category for her piece above.

In her artist’s statement, Poteau writes, “One day in the future, a kid like myself will ask an adult, ‘Why do people that look like me come to America?’ ‘Who were these Black people fighting for freedom? Freedom from what?’ ‘What happened to the Natives?’ ‘Why does feminism exist?’ ‘Why is the world around us, the way it is today?’ As a black, female student, I fear that one day, no teacher, or parent would be able to answer these questions.”

Addie Lentzner, 17, of Arlington High School won the written category, writing about the importance of schools teaching anti-racist education.

She writes, “As kids grow up in America, they can’t escape the grasp of racial inequity and discrimination. Biases are inculcated into kids from an early age, and nobody is immune to it. That’s why ignoring racism is not enough. That’s why color-blindness only causes harm. That’s why neglecting to discuss racism in our schools is perhaps the most dangerous threat to the longevity of our country, because without learning about racism, kids are going to be racist. Without seeing themselves reflected in the curriculum, students of color are going to be negatively affected. Without education on anti-racism, all kids will suffer.”

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