Livingstone Students Earn First-Place Awards in National Competition

SALISBURY – Livingstone College continues to be among the best in academia and student competitions as two students won first-place awards in a nationwide competition.

Honors’ students participated in the 30th National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP) Conference, held virtually Oct. 20-24 and hosted by Alabama State University under the theme, “Embracing a Legacy of Love, Tolerance and Diversity.”

Livingstone College senior and Student Government Association President, Justin E. Wade, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., competed in the oratorical competition that challenged students to discuss the triumphant strides of academic progress, economic gains and cultural dignity regarding the historical plight and current state of HBCUs, with a focus of why it is important to embrace an indefatigable spirit in America. The scholar’s 10-minute oration granted him first place in the competition and a monetary award.

Livingstone College junior, Emile Dogbe-Gakpetor, a native of Ghana, West Africa, earned the first-place Pearl Award for his essay response to the conference theme with a focus on “Surviving the Pandemic.” Additionally, Dogbe-Gakpetor and teammates Juliet Makena, Varvara Papakonstantinou and Darion Graham competed in the quiz bowl competition.

Faculty member, Dr. Da’Tarvia Parrish, presented on the National Endowment of the Arts and “The Big Read” grant application while the college’s library director, Laura Johnson, served as chair for the Model African Union.

“We are Blue Bear proud of these students for demonstrating excellence on this national platform,” said Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “To win an oratorical award and a writing award speaks volumes to the success of our quality enhancement program, ‘Write for Life.’ Thanks, also, to Dr. Parrish for her consistent leadership with our Honors Program.”

The virtual experience hosted more than 30 HBCUs as students engaged in research presentations, STEM poster presentations, Model African Union, debate, quiz bowl and oratorical competitions, while faculty delved into workshops underlining best practices in honors programs, grant writing and publication opportunities.

The conference included seminars from notable graduate programs to include Harvard, Notre Dame and Emory universities. Among companies and organizations represented were INROADS, the National Science Foundation and Wells Fargo.

The NAAAHP began in May 1990 when a group of Honors directors from approximately 20 Historically and Predominantly Black Colleges and Universities met at Morehouse College in Atlanta to discuss plans for a national organization of honors programs designed to address the specific needs of honors education for African-American students. The following year, the NAAAHP was formally established and a set of goals was designed to promote the continued empowerment of its constituents (students) through enhanced cognitive and affective experiences.

The conference will be hosted next year by Morgan State University in Baltimore. Md.

About Livingstone College

Livingstone College is a private historically black college that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction, academic excellence and student success. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for holistic learning, Livingstone provides excellent business, liberal arts, STEAM, teacher education and workforce development programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to promote lifelong learning, and to develop student potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit www.livingstone.edu.