The grand prizewinner of the “Words To My Ancestors” essay competition is Deshonay Dozier, a senior student at Alexander Hamilton High School, for her entry “I Can Imagine.”

Anthony Carter, vice president, Corporate Communications, Johnson & Johnson, presented the school with a check in the amount of $5,000 for winning the “Words To My Ancestors” essay competition. Dozier received a $500 scholarship, an all expense paid field trip to the California African American Museum for her classmates, and a $5,000 donation to her school. Four runner-ups received $250 scholarships and five runner-ups received $100 scholarships.

The “Words To My Ancestors” essay competition was open to seniors from four area high schools: Alexander Hamilton HS, Susan Miller Dorsey HS, Crenshaw HS and Westchester HS.

The competition required contestants to write an essay, poem, or letter of 1,000 words or less on what they would say to their ancestors after viewing the African American Lives 2 PBS series sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. A panel of five judges reviewed and scored the entries and selected the ten winners to receive scholarships from Johnson & Johnson.

An excerpt from Deshonay’s winning poem reads: Imagine the heat beating down on her neck. Picking the fields in her wool dress draped with dirt; Her mouth dry as cotton and her skin like a raisin thirsting for water; She stuffs her sack with the crops, hoping it’ll be enough. Imagine her little boy lifting his school books out of his sack Placed in the back of the class, he learns about black and white cows, His demeanor strong, showing no sign of struggle, He passes this on to his children.