Deadline for Princeton Prize applications Jan. 31

Jan. 28, 2010 3:16 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, is encouraging applications from students in grades 9 through 12 in 23 regions across the country for the 2009-10 school year. The deadline for applications is Sunday, Jan. 31.

The prize is given annually to students who have demonstrated their commitment to improving race relations within their schools and communities. Students from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, N.Y., San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and Northern and Southern New Jersey are eligible to apply.

"The Princeton Prize is important to many alumni," said Robert Martinez, a Princeton University alumnus who graduated in 1975 and recently took over as chair of the Princeton Prize. "I have been a volunteer, a board member and an advocate since the beginning, when this was just an idea. I have seen the Princeton Prize grow from two pilot cities to 23 regions.  We hope to take it farther, so that we can continue to recognize the important efforts of so many young people who are doing the work to make the United States a better place for everyone."

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations was launched in 2003 by a group of alumni volunteers in the Washington, D.C., and Boston metropolitan areas before expanding.

Since its inception the prize has recognized more than 400 high school age students for their achievements in promoting positive race relations. Projects honored by the regional committees have included student-initiated discussion groups, documentaries on multicultural issues, artistic expression that has resulted in positive race discussion, programs that target immigrants to help them assimilate and learn English, and programs that promote diversity in schools and communities.

Applicants are judged by Princeton alumni volunteers, who sit on regional committees and select exceptional student projects from each region's applicant pool. There is a first-place cash award of $1,000 available for each region and certificates of accomplishment for other students worthy of recognition.

First-prize winners also are awarded a trip to the Princeton University campus for the Princeton Prize Symposium on Race, in the spring. These students have the opportunity to attend a two-day conference with local high school students, Princeton faculty and Princeton Prize volunteers. They also present their projects and take part in discussions and workshops focused on race. This year the symposium will take place April 30 to May 1. Local students from the tri-state area are invited to participate. For more information about the symposium, students may e-mail

"In addition to serving to nurture future leaders, the Princeton Prize in Race Relations is in many ways a channel for local Princeton alumni to live up to Princeton's (unofficial) motto: 'In the nation's service and in the service of all nations,'" said Debbie Scott Williams, a 1984 graduate of Princeton and vice chair of the Princeton Prize. "By playing a small role in promoting harmony, understanding and respect among people of different races, Princeton alumni are able to positively affect their local communities and encourage all to inch ever closer to the 'beloved community' sought by so many."

More information about the Princeton Prize in Race Relations is available online.