Winners Tyus Davis of Colonial and Britney Wood of Cordova learned at Thursday night’s recognition banquet at Hope Church that they will be going to Washington in July for the DTWT national recognition ceremony.
They each will be accompanied by one parent and a teacher from their school. Their essays will be archived in the Library of Congress and will be published Sunday in The Commercial Appeal.
“You’re all already winners,” Gen. Weirich told all of the students at the banquet. “You will see in the future that you will make mistakes, but you’ve got to pick yourself up and listen to your inner voice. Remember that to whom much is given, much is expected.”
The featured speaker of the evening was University of Arkansas punter Toby Baker of Memphis, currently an NFL draft prospect. Baker, a member of the non-profit Athletes for Hope organization, told the students the importance of overcoming adversity and relying on faith.
The DA’s Office organized a committee of community leaders, business leaders and public servants to review essays written by 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from eight participating Shelby County Schools.
Those schools include Collierville, Colonial, Cordova, Hickory Ridge, Lester Prep, Ridgeway, Snowden and White Station.
The essay selection committee included General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Loyce Lambert-Ryan; Desiree Robertson, manager of the Team Up Youth Mentoring Partnership; Asst. Dist. Atty. Sam Winnig; Sherry Schedler, Interagency Services Manager, Shelby County Juvenile Court; and Ronald Pope, manager of Safety and Security for Shelby County Schools.
The DTWT Challenge is an initiative of the National Campaign to Stop the Violence, a non-profit, non-partisan organization made up of community, business and governmental leaders. The challenge is sponsored by the Kuwait-America Foundation, a non-profit founded in 1991 that aims to strengthen ties between the two countries. The local DTWT Challenge is presented by the DA’s Office and is sponsored by Athletes for Hope, Hope Presbyterian Church, Memphis Grizzlies and Urban Youth Ministries.
View additional photos of the event and school finalists HERE.