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Shaker Heights Student Wins Cleveland's Princeton Prize In Race Relations

photo of Princeton poster

The Princeton Prize for Race Relations for the Cleveland Branch will be presented this Thursday, recognizing high school students who volunteer to improve race relations.

This year’s winner from the Cleveland branch, Amani Hill, is a senior at Shaker Heights High School. Sandhya Gupta chairs the Princeton Prize committee in Cleveland, and says Hill put together a series of discussion events, which came up with several areas that can help improve the minority achievement gap in Shaker Heights schools.

“The first was to focus on research and evaluation. The second was to look at parental engagement. Also, student support and then inclusion initiatives.”

Gupta says the work Hill is doing has a unique connection to Princeton University this year due to controversy over campus buildings named after President Woodrow Wilson, given his segregationist views.

Cleveland’s Princeton Prize was established in 2011. The honor is currently awarded in more than two dozen regions throughout the country. Winners get $1,000 plus a trip to Princeton for a race-relations symposium.

This year’s finalists are Mica Jordan, also from Shaker Heights, and Andrea Doe from Gilmour Academy. Gupta says the three young ladies, all black, have demonstrated tremendous courage and compassion through their work.

Gupta on the Princeton Prize finalists

“Each of them is addressing this monumental issue of race relations by addressing the reality of racial division in their own environments. And it feels like they’re part of this larger movement. It’s a really good thing that Princeton can be part of that and help highlight this very deep and important work that the students are doing.”

All three Princeton Prize finalists will speak at this Thursday’s ceremony at 4 p.m. at the Dunham Tavern in Cleveland. The event is free and open to the public, and will also feature Dr. Lolita Buckner Inniss, professor of law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.