Proud Past - Inspired Future is an exciting program for African American sophomores and juniors attending WGHS.  Participants have the opportunity to create expressions that reflect both the pride they have in their past and inspiration for their future. Students can choose how they express their pride and inspiration – deciding to write an essay or poem, compose a photo exhibit, write a song, sketch or paint a picture...whatever form of expression a student chooses.

2018-2019 Grand Prize Winners in front of the White House.

2018-2019 Grand Prize Winners in front of the White House.

Grand Prize Winners will Travel to Washington, D.C.

Grand prize winners (up to four will be awarded) will take a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., in April 2019 departing early on a Friday and returning on Sunday.  The prize includes airfare, ground transportation, hotel and meals, and the 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

  • Other 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.

Cash Prizes for First and Second Runners Up

  • Second Runners Up - Two prizes of $100 each

  • First Runners Up - Two prizes of $200 each


Participating in PPIF

Students interested in participating in the PPIF award program should first complete an online registration form. The registration form is due by midnight CST November 8, 2018. Once the registration form is submitted, students will receive a Project Submission Form and will be contacted by the Chelsea Center, which will offer guidance and support for development of PPIF submissions. The Project Submission Form and student projects (essay, artwork, etc.) are due to be submitted in the Chelsea Center by 12pm CST on December 4, 2018.

Click HERE to Register for PPIF 2018-19.


Types of Projects

2018-2019 Grand Prize winners standing in front of the US Marine Corps War Memorial.

2018-2019 Grand Prize winners standing in front of the US Marine Corps War Memorial.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Grand Prize Winners 2018-2019 enjoying the DC Night Monument tour at the Lincoln Memorial.

Grand Prize Winners 2018-2019 enjoying the DC Night Monument tour at the Lincoln Memorial.

Photo by Dvoinik/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Dvoinik/iStock / Getty Images

Resources available at the Chelsea Center at WGHS.

Resources available at the Chelsea Center at WGHS.

PPIF is not just an essay contest or an art contest.  Rather, PPIF has been designed to honor the unique talents that students like you possess, and upon which you can build as you pursue your future.  Some students may be excellent writers, others may have gifts in music or talents in the visual or performing arts.  Where are your talents?  You are encouraged to use the medium that best enables you to express the pride you have in your past, and that which inspires you as you look forward to your future.

“…I thought my history was about slavery, and then ‘here we are.’ But there’s much more to the story. It’s about politics and activists and sports... There is so much more to our history, and it makes me think I could do anything.” Chris Rhodes, Sophomore (2018-2019 Grand Prize Winner)

Basic Process

While different students may decide to approach development of their project differently, it may be useful to divide your project into the following steps:

  • Learn: Take time to learn about your past. Please note:

    • “Your past,” may refer to people/events in your family’s history; the history of your neighborhood community; or people/events in African American history that impact you in some profound way.  Understand that the Award Committee will be looking for authentic and personal connections to the past.  Such connections may be easier to identify through family or community connections, so students are encouraged to explore those types of connections, and to use them if possible.

    • To learn about your past, consider interviewing family members, friends and members of your community; check out the resources that have been assembled for this program in the WGHS Chelsea Center, visit the Missouri History Museum, conduct online searches, etc.  See "Resources" below for a more complete list of resources and links.

  • Reflect: Take time to reflect on what you’ve learned about the past and how it is connected to your future. The following questions will help you think clearly and creatively about your submission. Note: your responses to these questions will be requested on the Project Submission Form and used in evaluating your project.

    • What did you learn about your past or about the history of your community that gives you a sense of pride?

    • Did anything you learned surprise you? Why? How do you think that person or event shaped you?

    • What did you learn that you think others should know?

    • What about your past do you hold in your heart, and that you think others should hold in their hearts?

    • What inspires you about the future – either your personal future, or the future of African American culture?

    • How are you inspired to contribute to your community…to become a leader?

    • Has anything you’ve discovered about your past given you inspiration for your future?  What/how?

  • Create! Express yourself in the medium of your choice. Write an essay or short story or poem; compose a song; paint, draw, sculpt or take pictures; make a short film or write a short play. Give expression to your pride and inspiration in the best way you know how.

    • Requirements for prize eligible submissions

      • Complete registration form submitted by November 8th at midnight (CST)

      • Responses to student questionnaire submitted in typed format

      • Research into “Proud Past” element will be required. Student’s research must be reflected and represented in the student questionnaire.

      • Complete entries are due to the Chelsea Center by noon CST on December 4, 2018.


Following is a list of resources you can use in learning about community or national history:

  • The Chelsea Center has compiled resources from the WGHS library and other sources to make them available to students participating in PPIF.

  • Students can also make appointments with WGHS librarians to receive assistance finding resources for their projects.

  • The City of Webster Groves Library has books and papers about the history of North Webster available. See this link for some of the resources available, and click here to download a thesis paper available at library titled: "To Merge Them In the Start of Superior Journeys: Community Identity, Education, and the Struggle for Citizenship Rights in North Webster, Missouri, 1865 – 1952"

  • Walking tour of North Webster – “A Black Community of Faith and Hope.” A PDF is available from the Webster Groves Historical Society website or can be directly accessed at this link.

  • National Museum of African American History & Culture

    • Articles on history and culture here

    • Podcasts on history and culture here