Tennessee High School student wins top prize in Black History Month Oratorical Contest

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024

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KINGSPORT – Harper Robinette of Tennessee High School took home the top cash prize of $1,500 in Eastman’s 10th annual Black History Month Oratorical Contest. Robinette won for her essay on Vivien Thomas, an African American pioneer of modern heart surgery who developed a cure for “blue baby” syndrome.
She was among five finalists selected from dozens of essays submitted by students across the Tri-Cities area. The students presented last week before a live audience on the Eastman campus. The annual contest is sponsored by Eastman and Connect, its Black and African American Employee Resource Group (ERG). It solicits essays about Black and African American pioneers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions.
The contest provides high school students an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of significant contributions made by Black and African Americans in STEM fields. The contest also provides students the opportunity to improve their writing, communication, public speaking and leadership skills.
The following students also won cash prizes in the contest: Lana Lavender, Tennessee High School; Matthew Carpenter, West Ridge High School; Aya Bowen, West Ridge High School, and Isiaha Stuart, West Ridge High School.
Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company’s innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,000 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The company had 2023 revenue of approximately $9.2 billion and is headquartered in Kingsport. For more information, visit www.eastman.com.

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