“Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice” was the theme of this year’s Creative Expressions contest sponsored by the College of Southern Maryland’s Diversity Institute in partnership with the Charles County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Finalists were recognized at a Creative Expressions ceremony at the La Plata Campus.

Finalists in the contest were Rajan Venkatesh, a 4th-grader from Gale-Bailey Elementary school for his essay, “Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice”; Christina Walker, a 7th-grader from Milton M. Somers Middle School for her drawing; Shayla Belton, a junior at Maurice J. McDonough High School for her drawing of Beverly Bond; and Onika Samuel, a senior at Thomas Stone High School for her spoken word presentation, “Who Am I.” Elementary and middle school students received a $150 scholarship to CSM’s Kids’ and Teen College summer program, and high school students received a $500 scholarship toward tuition at CSM.

Participants were asked to reflect on the theme, “Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice” using artwork, essay, spoken word poetry or digital media works. Entries were judged on creativity, thought-provoking and informative content, relevance to theme, and spelling and grammar. Entries were reviewed by a panel of judges representing the Diversity Institute, Charles County NAACP, Charles County Board of Education and CSM.

“The Creative Expressions Contest provides young people in Charles County with an opportunity to conceptualize and reflect on the struggles of influential African-Americans past and present by expressing themselves through writing and visual arts,” said CSM Mentor Program Coordinator Evan Green.

For information on the Diversity Institute at CSM, visit http://www.csmd.edu/community/institutes/diversity-institute/programs/creative-expressions-contest/.

For a gallery of photos from the Creative Expressions ceremony, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/createxpcontest.