K-12 Poster Contest Winners

2024 High School Winners

First Place

Charlotte Tigchelaar, 12th Grade, Huntington High School; Teacher: Marisa Main

“I chose Claude McKay because I had recited on of his poems for a Poetry out Loud assignment.  When I researched him, I found out that he had written another poem that I studied in class, one with a very different style and topic.  I was impressed because I liked both of the poems, so I picked him for my poster and did more research.  I learned that his poetry was usually about either his life in Jamaica or his experience with radical struggles in the United States.  I displayed this contrast in my poster with the pencil drawing on a painted background.”


Jayonna Skaggs, 11th Grade, Huntington High School; Teacher:  Marisa Main

Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and was raised by her mother after her parents’ divorce. She started writing songs and playing guitar at 8 years old. She was inspired by a show called “Hee Haw.” Tracy is most known for her songs “Fast Car” and “Give Me One Reason.” Her first album received a Grammy award nomination, and she won three of them. Tracy Chapman was not only a positive example for African Americans and women in the industry, but also one of the first very successful representatives of the
LGBTQ community.


Lauryn Coffman, 11th Grade, Huntington High School; Teacher: Marisa Main

In preparation for creating my poster, I researched multiple African American artists before I decided to dedicate my poster to Ray Charles and the Count Basie Orchestra. Ray Charles was a blind musician who was considered a “Pioneer of Soul Music.” He defied the odds despite his blindness and became an icon in American music history. Ray Charles commonly supported and played with other musicians from small to famous, such as Count Basie and his orchestra. Count Basie was known as the “King of Swing.” My poster mainly focuses on the two together, influencing music in general from blues to rock, and how the two banded together to express their emotion through song. Through my research, I learned of the struggle that Ray Charles faced as an impoverished, black and blind musician growing up in the 1930’s. This enlightened me that not all world-renowned artists get to this point easily. *I created my design with graphite on white tagboard, and then used Photoshop to create the aged appearance.

2022 High School Winners

First Place

Lyric Smith, 9th Grade, Huntington High School; Teacher: Sarah Black

“Preparing to make my poster, I learned more about the poor housing and lack of health check-ups. When making the poster I tried to incorporate all of the issues including those to spread awareness for people who live their lives that way. After making this poster, I hope that people can see it and want to help people who are less fortunate …”

Merrit Award

Stevie Culbreth, 10th Grade, Huntington High School; teacher Marisa Main

2021 High School Winners

2021 Black History Month Poster Contest Winner

1st Place: Chloe Massey, 9th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Anthony Loveday

Commended for powerful expression of the 2021 theme, the honoring of those who have died recently in police custody, and a moving use of color, paint, word, and image. All areas of this ambitious poster were filled with meaning, with supporting subject matter positioned around the central focus on two African Americans. The original typography of “No Justice, No Peace” is exceptional – bold, dimensional, emotional. This entry is both a successful poster design and a work of fine art.

“I learned that race-based inequality is a major issue in the world we know today,” Chloe said. “I learned that I can push my artistic skills and make a beautiful piece of art that means something and could help someone. I painted this painting to show that no matter where you came from, no matter your skin tone, religion, or culture you can make a change and stand together to make a world a better place. I’m so happy that I got the chance to make this because I never knew I was capable of making something so powerful. This piece made me realize that I have a place in this world and it’s to help other people. So that hopefully they can help others and the world can be the way it should be. Equal.”

2nd Place: Alexandria Lindberg, 12th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Diana Frazier

The light-hearted and appealing color scheme and decorative border effectively draw

viewers to notice that this is in fact an image of protest and proclaims ideals of racial


“I demonstrated the history of protests in my submission, as well as emphasizing meaningful quotes that showcase the emotions of those who demanded equal rights,” Alexandria said. “Dr. Woodson pushed for recognition of black history in schools, this contribution has developed into an entire month of awareness and appreciation of those who fought and continue to fight for equal rights. Especially now and within the past few months, the recognition of the current problems African Americans are currently facing has opened up more attention towards the importance of voting for change.”

3rd Place-Tie: Kyleigh Hoey, 11th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Diana Frazier

This entry takes an original approach to the use of the fist as a universal symbol of

protest. The text on the fist is well chosen for the theme and also relate well to the forms of the hand. The collaged, photographic images in the space around the fist are diverse in subject, scale, and source, and link contemporary and historical times.

“I was inspired by Carter G. Woodson’s education and teaching career and feel an even greater connection to his inspiring story given our shared experience of growing up in Huntington,” Kyleigh said. “My poster includes a central Black Lives Matter fist to represent the ongoing struggle African Americans to achieve full equity and justice in this country. In white are the words of Carter G. Woodson and the title of my poster. Along the edges are pictures torn out of old National Geographic magazines that date to the 60s and are intended to symbolize something of this continuing struggle and elements of black history. The more prominent photos are of Woodson and important symbols of his past.”

3rd Place-Tie: Nicole LeGrow, 12th Grade, Huntington High School, Teacher Anthony Loveday

This image is bold and yet it also rewards the careful viewer. The tear, the draped chain around neck and shoulders, and the American flag covering the mouth combine to create a notable sense of pathos. The choice to present a woman relates well to the role of women in founding the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I chose to incorporate specific symbols like the chains around her body and the American flag taped over her mouth to spotlight how we silence and ignore the issues on race inequality because as white people we feel like in does not pertain to us,” Nicole said. “In reality black people must deal with systematic racism and discrimination every day which effects an entire class of people and if we stay silent about racial inequality, nothing will ever change. I also chose to add newspaper to the background to symbolize how Black Lives Matter is negatively portrayed in the media and how racial issues are almost never covered or given the positive attention that it so desperately needs to show the world that racism is still happening and yes it is up to us the fix it.”

2020 High School Winners

2019 High School Winner

2018 High School Winner

2024 Middle School Winners


Lydia Jordan, 8th Grade, Barboursville Middle School; Teacher:  Molly Fisher

The black and African American community has progressed greatly throughout the years. The people who pushed the barriers include many different kinds of artists. I chose to research Ray Charles, Kara Walker, and Faith Ringgold. Art is an important part of my life, so seeing it used as a tool to improve racial equality inspired me to find out more about these people. Ray Charles is a well-known music artist who pushed past the obstacles of blindness and racism by making music. Kara Walker expressed her thoughts on racism through shadow art, and even a giant sugar sculpture. And Faith Ringgold works in multi-media to confront racial prejudices. Even though those artists represent only a small percentage of the vast community, they have had an amazing impact on the world as a whole.

2022 Middle School Winners

First Place

Harper Armentrout, 8th Grade, Barboursville Middle School; Teacher: Molly Fisher

“During this project, I learned knowledge about the immense struggles that African-American health care workers have gone through, as well as the impact they have made. I learned how these influential, yet largely unrecognized people, came to change the health system so greatly. I researched the struggles in obtaining equal education for people of various ethnic groups. I found it very inspirational that, against much adversity, the health field is slowly becoming a field in which people of all races can succeed.”

Merit Award

Jillian Castle, 7th Grade, Barboursville Middle School: Teacher: Molly Fisher

2021 Middle School Winner

2021 Black History Month Poster Contest winner - Middle School winner

First Place

Milla Werthammer, 8th Grade, Barboursville Middle School, Teacher Molly Fisher

Commended for color, subtle skin tones, scale shift from hands to portraits, and featuring both prominent African American men and women.

“While preparing my submission for this contest, I learned many facts about black history and was inspired by the four most influential African American leaders,” Mill said. “I chose to illustrate Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and Barack Obama because they fundamentally helped shape the world in which we live today.”

2020 Middle School Winners

2019 Middle School Winner

2024 Elementary School Winners


Aydin Soner, 5th Grade, Homeschooled, Teacher:  Kutina Williams

I learned about several new artists in completing this project. I am an artist and musician myself. I learned in working on this project that many artists were activists on social justice issues and civil rights. They used their art and talents to highlight the injustices suffered by African Americans and also inspired African Americans to have pride in themselves and their culture. For instance, James Brown, who is from my state, sang about Soul Power and being black and proud! Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes were very vocal in their poems and writings on the inequalities faced by African Americans. I also learned of the brilliant tendency of African Americans to make lemons out of lemonade, even creating entire American genres (blues, jazz, hip hop, etc.) that are groovy and relatable, but also have messages highlighting issues in the African American community. Some of these genres have even been used elsewhere on the globe to highlight inequality and social justice issues. Lastly, I tried to also highlight artists who expressed themselves through different art forms, other than the traditional visual and performing arts, including: photography (Gordon Parks) and writing (Baldwin, Hughes, and Angelou).


Gabi Adkins, 5th Grade, Meadows Elementary; Teacher: Charity Baker

It’s important to recognize African American artists because their voices aren’t always heard. I chose Alma Thomas and her artwork as my inspiration for my poster. I love her work because of how beautiful and colorful it is. Despite not finding fame early in life, she showed perseverance and continued creating wonderful paintings. I also found it really inspirational that she had artwork purchased to hang in the White House, and she was the first African American woman to have her artwork hung in the White House. She wanted to share the beautiful world she saw by painting abstract paintings of what she could see. I included a quote from her that I thought would be inspirational to everyone and represented how she saw things as an artist.

2022 Elementary School Winners

First Place (Tie)

Nevaeh Hayes, 4th Grade, Meadows Elementary; Teacher: Charity Baker

“I started thinking about researching something to do that would go with black health and wellness. Then I had the idea of several things (that go with Black health and wellness), including working out, making sure to eat healthy, doctors taking care of you and how mental health is important as well. … It all came together and I think it shows everything I wanted to include.”

First Place (Tie)

Ashton Schultz, 5th Grade, Southside Elementary; Teacher: Courtney Arnold

“Before I made my drawing, I used my iPad to research important people from history (who) impacted health and wellness for Black Americans. That’s when I learned that health and wellness wasn’t always equal. I learned about many of the pioneers of both (Black) health and wellness … I think that anyone should be able to have the same treatments and equal access to good health care. Everyone is equal no matter what the race.”

The poster contest is held annually by The Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum, which is directed by Burnis Morris, a professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall.

2021 Elementary School Winner

2021 Black History Month Poster Contest Winner - Elementary School Winner

1st Place: Elynn Winters, 5th Grade, Southside Elementary School, Teacher Courtney Arnold

This poster is commended for its forthright representation of the “Racial Justice” theme; clarity of message; color scheme; and also for use of technology in the creation of the design. The use of emojis situates this as a youthful entry of these times.

“My poster is about supporting equal rights for people of color,” Elynn said. “I put equality for all at the bottom because everyone needs to take that in.”

2020 Elementary School Winner

2019 Elementary School Winner