Who is eligible to participate? PPIF is open to African American sophomores and juniors attending Webster Groves High School?

What are the prizes? Up to eight students will receive awards – up to four grand prizes, two runners up, and two second runners up.  The prizes are as follows:

  • Second Runners Up: Two winners, $100 each

  • Runners Up: Two winners, $200 each

  • Grand Prize: Up to four winners, three-day trip to Washington, D.C. for each grand prize winner. More details:

    • Trip to DC will occur spring of 2020. Dates to be announced late 2019.

    • Prize includes airfare, ground transportation, hotel and meals

    • Itinerary will feature:

      • Tour of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture

      • Pre-arranged tours of the US Capitol and other points of interest

      • Experiential learning activities (to be determined based on student interests)

    • Students will be accompanied by WGHS faculty members Julie Burchett and Dana Miller who will provide experiential learning opportunities throughout the trip.

How do students apply?  Students interested in participating in the PPIF award program should first complete an online registration. All registration forms are due by midnight on November 1, 2019. Once the registration is submitted, students will receive an email with additional information about PPIF and the submission process. The Project Submission Form and student Projects (essay, artwork, etc.) are due to be submitted in the Chelsea Center by 12-noon Central Time on December 11, 2019.

Requirements of submitted projects: Complete registration form due by midnight on November 1st, 2019. All responses to student questionnaire must be submitted in a typed format. Research into “Proud Past” element will be required and will need to be reflected in the student questionnaire.

When are submissions due?  Noon CST on December 11, 2019.

What kind of support is available to help students develop their ideas?  Dana Miller and Julie Burchett (WGHS faculty) support the program and will coach students through the submission process. Students are encouraged to visit the Resources section of the student page of this website for up-to-date information about the program and links to resources that may be helpful in thinking about and developing their project.  

When will winners be announced?  Winners will be announced in January 2020.

Who will be choosing the winning entries? Applications will be reviewed by an Award Committee of about five people.  The committee will include citizens who live within the boundaries of the Webster Groves School District. The Award Committee will not include Webster Groves School District personnel or Board of Education members, or any relatives or individuals with a direct relationship to any of the applicants.

What are the criteria the Award Committee will use?  The PPIF Awards Committee will be evaluating different types of projects submissions, from essays, to photographs, paintings, short films, etc.  In order to evaluate and compare submissions, the Awards Committee will evaluate both the projects students submit and student responses to a set of “reflection questions.”  Point values for each of these elements are as follows: 

  • 75 of 100 possible points - PPIF Project, e.g., essay, drawing, short film

  • 25 of 100 possible points - Responses to Questions for Reflection

How will student projects/entries be evaluated?  All student projects will be evaluated against five criteria.  In each of the five criteria, projects will be scored as “Excellent,” “Good,” or “Fair.”  Following is a list of the five criteria that will be used to evaluate projects, along with a description of what will be considered “Excellent” for each item: 

  • Purpose: The project clearly reflects both the ideas of pride in the past and inspiration for the future.

  • Originality: The project demonstrates originality of thought and approach to conveying ideas.

  • Impact: As a whole, the project makes a strong emotional impact on the person reading, listening, or observing it.

  • Quality: The project is well done. If an essay, it is good essay; if a painting, it is well-composed; if a short-film, it has a story and is done well, etc.

  • Use of Information: The project reflects an effort by the student to gather information and to make a deep, personal connection to the key themes of pride in the past and hope for the future. As such, students are expected to cite a minimum of two research resources along with their submission. Research resources may include interviews with family or community members, museum visits, internet searches or use of books and other resources available at the Chelsea Center.

Who is leading PPIF? Proud Past - Inspired Future is a program is was created by Chuck and Laura Reynolds and has been made possible by the volunteer efforts of the following people in the Webster Groves community and Webster Groves High School:

  • Kevin Brackens - Citizen

  • Julie Burchett – Experiential Learning Coordinator and Teacher, WGHS

  • Dana Miller – Experiential Learning Internship Advisor - WGHS

  • Chuck and Laura Reynolds – Citizens

  • Sarah Riss – Former Superintendent, Webster Groves School District

  • Paula Smith – Citizen

  • Martha Veldhuizen – Citizen

  • Shiree Yeggins – Assistant Principal, WGHS

What types of projects can be submitted as “expressions”, and why isn’t this just an essay contest or an art contest?  PPIF seeks to honor the unique talents that students have and which they can build upon as they pursue their future aspirations.  Some students may be excellent writers, others may have gifts in music or talents in the visual or performing arts.  So, while all entries will be evaluated on the basis of how well they reflect a student’s appreciation for the past and aspirations for the future, we understand that different students will have different ways of expressing themselves.  As such, the panel will consider a wide array of types of entries that seek to express a student’s thoughts and feelings.

How can adults encourage and support students to participate? For many students, the encouragement, support and confidence of an adult they know and trust will be essential to their decision to participate and to follow through with development of an entry.  Here are some concrete steps supportive adults can take:

  • Introduce the student to this opportunity.

  • Print, read and review the registration form with the student. Help them see the registration is not cumbersome, and offer assistance in completing it.

  • Help the student develop a game plan for creating their entry. A basic process has been outlined and is available under the student and teacher/mentor sections of this website.

Why only sophomore and junior students of the high school?  The grade-level eligibility criteria is based on two objectives.  First, participants should be old enough to be likely contemplating their future path and post-high school options.  Second, it is important that participants have at least one year left at WGHS so those who travel to DC can share their experiences with others and have those experiences potentially impact their own thinking about/choices of academic and career options while still in high school.

How is Proud Past - Inspired Future funded:  This program is being launched with a three year commitment to underwrite costs from the An Inspired Future Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by Chuck and Laura Reynolds.  The An Inspired Future Foundation exists for the purpose of helping people discover and achieve their full potential to help create a more just and peaceful society.

PPIF will raise funds to help grow the program and to make it sustainable beyond the three year commitment.  Funds will be raised through two primary means: 

  1. Student Reception: An opportunity to join others in the community in honoring award winners and to view and learn about student entries. The spring 2020 Student Reception date will be announced early 2020.

  2. Direct Contributions: Donations are welcome. Please click here to learn more.

How can citizens become involved?  Citizens are encouraged to support this initiative by encouraging and supporting students to participate (see above) and/or by providing financial support.  PPIF is raising funds to help grow the program and to make it sustainable through two primary means: 

  • Student Reception: An opportunity to join others in the community in honoring award winners and to view and learn about student entries. The spring 2020 Student Reception date will be announced early 2020.

  • Direct Contributions: Donations are welcome. Please click here to learn more.