Student works in ‘diversity’ honored

By Jami Peterson

Speeches, essays and posters displayed cultural diversity in a contest celebrating the year-long effort to have “Unity in Diversity” at NIU.

“I am me, an interracial mix. I am a mistake. In high school, the white cliques and the black cliques did not accept me for myself,” said Bridget Grey, whose first place speech received a standing ovation. “Being myself, I am, in a way, a unity of the races. Tell me, do I scare you?”

On Nov. 15, in the Holmes Student Center, speeches were given and the winners of the essay and poster competitions were announced. For all competitions, first place winners received $100, second place winners received $50 and third place winners received $25.

Receiving first, second and third places for the speech competition were NIU students Gray from Downers Grove, Tomiko Gay from Skokie and Angela Locket from Gary, Ind., respectively.

In the poster competition, Rachel Lundstrom from Elgin received first place, Leo Castillo from Blue Island received second place and Ken Fox from Justice received third place. Their posters were required to use world flags and unusual typography to convey the Unity in Diversity theme.

“As an American, I could belong to a part of each culture in the world because that is what America is all about; it’s diversity,” wrote Edgar Samson, first place winner of the essay competition.

Samson, who is from Chicago, originally wrote the essay as an assignment, but “people thought it was good enough to turn in. I just got lucky,” he said.

Receiving second and third places were Tiffany Conners from Joliet and Nadeya Assaf from DeKalb.

The contest was coordinated by co-chairs of the committee for Unity in Diversity—Byron Anderson, from the University Libraries, and Sue Mellard, administrative secretary in NIU’s College of Law.

Walt Hines, associate professor of art, coordinated the poster competition and Robert Self, director of freshman English courses, coordinated the essay competition.

Diane Strand, assistant director of Public Information, said the contest, which was held for the fourth year at NIU, “did not receive any entries in photography.” A Unity in Diversity photography contest will be held second semester, she added.