Princeton Prize in Race Relations expands to 23 regions

Oct. 17, 2008 1:29 p.m.

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations, an awards program for high school students who do outstanding work to advance the cause of race relations, will expand to 23 regions for the 2008-09 school year.

The prize now will be offered in Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh. These locations are in addition to the following metropolitan areas included in last year's program: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, Princeton, N.J., Rochester, N.Y., San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington D.C., as well as Connecticut and northern New Jersey.

"The Princeton Prize in Race Relations has grown significantly, both in reach and in applicants," said Henry Von Kohorn, chair of the Princeton Prize Committee and a 1966 alumnus of the University. "Each year we see a more diverse range of projects that are submitted by students who are genuinely concerned about race relations."

Von Kohorn said the goal is to eventually expand the program nationwide.

The program, created by alumni volunteers and sponsored by the University's Alumni Association, was launched in 2003 in the Washington, D.C., and Boston metropolitan areas. Since the prize's inception, more than 250 students have been honored for promoting positive race relations in their schools or communities.

This past school year, the Princeton Prize in Race Relations recognized 97 students in 21 regions across the country. Twenty-nine winners received cash awards of up to $1,000, and 68 students received certificates of accomplishment. The 2007-08 winners impressed the local alumni awards committees with projects that included a multicultural discussion group to examine how minorities are portrayed in the media and movies; art classes for preschool and elementary school students from immigrant and low-income families; a program to provide leadership skills to young African American adults; and a documentary that explored the use of racially charged language.

"Princeton University's full-fledged support and the hard work of dedicated Princeton alumni throughout the United States have helped to identify these talented young people who should be recognized for their commitment to improving their communities in the area of race relations," Von Kohorn said.

In May, 18 prize winners from across the country attended the first Princeton Prize Symposium on Race held on the University campus. The event, which was sponsored by the Princeton University class of 1966, brought the student winners together with Princeton-area high school students, University faculty, and community leaders for two days of discussions and workshops on race.

"It was a life changing experience to meet all of these exceptional, dedicated teenagers who are so enthusiastic about changing the face of race relations in their communities, our country," said Marguerite Vera, executive director of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations for the Alumni Association.

Students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 are eligible to participate in the awards program. Applicants for the 2008-09 year must have been engaged in their volunteer project in the 12 months preceding the application deadline. All students submit their applications to the University's Alumni Association, which then submits them to the appropriate regional committee for review. Applications, which must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2009, are available online at the Princeton Prize website. Winners will be announced in spring 2009.

For more information on how to apply, visit the Princeton Prize website.