Reginald F. Lewis Foundation Hosts Essay Writing Contest for Baltimore City Public School Students
By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation is currently inviting entries for its Student Writing Contest.
Students at Baltimore City Public School (City School) are encouraged to read or listen”Why should white guys have fun?by Reginald F. Lewis and Blair S. Walker and write a 500-800 word essay detailing their thoughts and reactions to the biography.
The submission deadline closes Nov. 1, and three winners, along with seven honorable mentions, will be announced Nov. 20 in the AFRO.
“So many men and women have been inspired after reading the book to pursue their highest dreams with everything,” said Loida Lewis, President of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation and wife of the late Reginald F. Lewis. “Young people really don’t know anything about him, so I want them to read and write about him and how he inspires their lives.”
The foundation, named after million-dollar business magnate and Baltimore native Reginald F. Lewis, was established in 1987 to support grantees focused on social justice, empowerment through education, the arts and the promotion of cultural diversity.
Loida Lewis said her husband believed education was the key to escaping poverty.
“Why should white guys have fun?takes its title from the same question Lewis, six, asked his grandparents after hearing them discuss employment discrimination against African Americans.
The book, which is based on his unfinished autobiography, chronicles Lewis’ journey to becoming the CEO of TLC Beatrice International, a major international food processing company that was once known as the largest black-owned company.
Several years after taking office, Lewis has grown the company’s sales to more than $1.8 billion a year, making TLC Beatrice International the first black-owned company to generate $1 billion in annual sales. .
In part, the essay writing competition was created to commemorate the legacy and impact of Lewis, who would have turned 80 in December. The foundation has chosen to partner with the AFRO for the pageant because at age 10, Lewis was working as a paperboy for the Baltimore publication, growing his customer base from 10 to over 100 in two years.
“Reginald Lewis was an extraordinary entrepreneur, a champion of social justice and a role model for many, especially young people,” said Frances ‘Toni’ Draper, editor of the AFRO. “His legacy lives on through efforts like this essay contest for students at Baltimore City Public High School. AFRO is honored to work with Mrs. Loida Lewis and the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation.
Beverly Cooper, vice president of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, said students can borrow “Why should white guys have fun?free of charge at all branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
The top prizes for the contest are $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place. Each of the winners’ schools will receive $1,000. The seven students who will receive honorable mentions will each receive $500.
Entrants can send their essays to [email protected]
According to Loida Lewis, young people can learn what it takes to achieve their goals by reading the book. They can also understand the importance of goal setting, hard work, determination, and integrity.
“I want them to be ambitious, to dream, to think, but it’s not good if they’re not ready to work hard every day,” she said.
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