Charlotte Zagol and Dawood Haji place in the Eastman Black History Month Oratorical Contest

Dawood Haji and Charlotte Zagol

Sophomore Charlotte Zagol and Junior Dawood Haji competed in Eastman’s annual Black History Month Oratorical Contest Monday, February 26. This year was Eastman’s fifth year to hold this contest for high schoolers in the community. The goal of this oratorical contest is to “contribute to a deeper public understanding of Black and African American contributions to the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM).” To participate, a student must submit an original essay about a notable Black or African American contributor. The judging criteria for the essays are based on grammar, the depiction of the innovator’s contribution, proper sources, and the distinctiveness of the subject/topic. They are then also judged on the oratory presentations based on diction, tone, pronunciation, and creativity. 

Zagol won first place and a cash prize of $1,500 with an essay and oratory presentation on Gregory Robinson. She described Robinson as an “invaluable member of the Webb team. He rose from being an African-American sharecropper from Danville, Virginia. Robinson faced many impediments because of his race, but he never let that stop him. He used his brilliance, ingenuity, and leadership to gain a proper education and an important position at NASA. Robinson was a guiding figure in many space missions before becoming the director of the James Webb project. He is an inspiration and a true self-made man. He proved to the world that nothing can prevent you from going farther than anyone else before.”

Dawood earned fifth place and a cash prize of $250 with an essay and oratory presentation on Gladys West. She is an African-American Mathematician from Sutherland, Virginia. West garnered recognition for her significant contributions as the project manager of Seasat, an innovative U.S. ocean surveillance satellite under the U.S. Naval Proving Ground, and her involvement in the evolution of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Though she faced many challenges and barriers, West did not let that hinder her from becoming one of history’s “hidden figures.”

Acquiring proficient and precise communication skills, whether in spoken or written form, stands as a fundamental skill imparted across all three divisions at Carlisle. Our Portrait of a Graduate emphasizes these attributes: character, intellect, and leadership, all of which are enriched by the capability to articulate thoughts clearly and craft compelling written content.