Thunder Recognizes Winners of Black History Heroes Challenge

Five winners attended game on Saturday as part of eighth annual contest, presented by Sprite

OKLAHOMA CITY, Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 – On Saturday, the Thunder honored Black History Month by recognizing five Oklahoma students who made personal connections with figures in black history, as part of the team’s eighth annual Black History Heroes Challenge, presented by Sprite.

The winners in each of the five age categories received personalized plaques and on-court recognition during Saturday’s Thunder vs. Warriors game at Chesapeake Energy Arena, in addition to being awarded four tickets to the game, a Thunder team-autographed basketball and other prizes.

Each winning student demonstrated creativity in presenting the importance of a historical figure or a personal hero. The Thunder displayed the winning entries, along with other select submissions, on the concourse during Saturday’s game.

For the kindergarten/first grade category, Scout Acosta submitted an original drawing and essay about Jackie Robinson and what he did to break color barriers in major league sports. Acosta, a first-grader, attends Nance Elementary in Clinton.

Olivia LeMaster, who attends Parkview Elementary in Stroud, created a picture collage about her friend and pastor, Gerard Nsabimana, who escaped a brutal civil war in his native country Burundi and came to the United States to attend college. The second-grader took top honors in the second/third-grade division.

With another submission discussing a historical figure, Elyse Morgan won the fourth/fifth-grade category with an essay on Loretta Lynch, the first African-American Attorney General in U.S. history. Lynch has inspired Elyse, a fourth-grader at KIPP Reach College Preparatory in Oklahoma City, with her courage and determination.

Seventh-grader Payton Ford submitted a tribute to his great-grandmother, Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, the first African-American to attend the University of Oklahoma College of Law and the first African-American to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Payton’s personal hero was a key figure in the civil rights movement in Oklahoma. Payton also attends KIPP Reach College Preparatory in Oklahoma City and won the middle school division.

For the high school category, Asante’ Hardin won with his submission of an original sketch of Malcolm X, paired with an essay that discusses how Malcolm X’s activism for human rights has influenced him to challenge himself and to achieve his goals. Hardin is a sophomore at Lawton High School in Lawton.

The nearly 300 entries submitted by Oklahoma students included dioramas, sculptures, poems, drawings, essays and more.

ABOUT THE BLACK HISTORY HEROES CHALLENGE: Presented by Sprite, the Black History Heroes Challenge invites Oklahoma students to submit a poem, essay or visual arts piece to honor a black history hero, including historical figures or personal heroes. Winners receive prizes that include being recognized on-court at a Thunder home game.

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