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Honors awarded during annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration
Nikasha N Dicks
/ Categories: Press Releases

Honors awarded during annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration Steering Committee awarded several honors during its annual event on Sunday, January 22, presented by Aiken Technical College (Aiken Tech) and the University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken).

Among the awards were the Human and Civil Rights Champion Awards. The awards recognize those who have demonstrated advocacy and support for diversity, equity, inclusion, and human rights. The honor is awarded to one Aiken area community member and one student each from Aiken Tech and USC Aiken.

The 2023 Human and Civil Rights Champions are:

  • Community Award: Elizabeth Webb is a USC Aiken professor who has served as the chair of the Bias Incident Report team and has been a champion for the civil rights of students, faculty, and staff at USC Aiken. She has also served as an advisor for UNITY, a student organization that supports the campus’s LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. She has also served with the USC Aiken Inclusion Advisory Council.

 

  • Aiken Tech Student Award: Jayla Hill is the president of the Aiken Tech Student Government Association and has led several community service projects and outreach initiatives. Her efforts have included delivering snacks, headbands, and water for patients at the Cancer Care Institute of Carolina, organizing the ATC Giving Tree project to collect donations for local non-profit organizations, and volunteering at community events.

 

  • USC Aiken Student Award: Adriaonna Hill is the incoming president of CURLS, a USC Aiken student organization that stands for “Confident, Unique, Regal, Leading Society.” She has helped develop partnerships between organizations to provide safe spaces for communities on the USC Aiken campus. She has been a central member of the PEAK Mentor Program that supports students from underrepresented populations at USC Aiken.

 

The committee also recognized winners of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. poster and essay contests.

Kindergarten through fifth-grade students in Aiken County were invited to participate in the poster contest. Their original designs represented what the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday means to them.

The winners for the kindergarten to second-grade category were:

  • First Place: Jaxon McLeod, Busbee Elementary School
  • Second Place: Raul Remero, Clearwater Elementary School
  • Third Place: Aniyah Hazen, Clearwater Elementary School

The winners for the third through fifth grades category were:

  • First Place: Deja Moody, Busbee Elementary School
  • Second Place: Tariyah Thompson, Oakwood-Windsor Elementary School
  • Third Place: Waseem Al Jabali, North Augusta Elementary School

Aiken County students in sixth through 12th grades were invited to participate in an essay contest where they were asked to explain what the following Dr. King quote meant to them: “…arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The winners for the middle school category were:

  • First Place: Thomas D. Burns, III, St. Mary’s Help of Christians Catholic School
  • Second Place: Arianna “Gabby” Gardner, Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School
  • Third Place: Cayden Keller, Jackson Middle School

The winners for the high school category were:

  • First Place: Rena Humes, Aiken Scholars Academy
  • Second Place: Esther Marks, Mead Hall Episcopal School
  • Third Place: Taylor Abraham, Mead Hall Episcopal School
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