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Winners named in Martin Luther King Jr. writing contest

PITTSBURGH    (January 13, 2010) - Citizens Bank today announced the winners of the ninth annual “Expressions of Freedom” writing contest. The winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Monday, January 18 at 5 p.m. at the August Wilson Center. Citizens will also provide free admission to the August Wilson Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on that day for “Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the August Wilson Center.”

Participants were asked to write an essay based on the famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each winner will receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond from Citizens Bank and the opportunity to record select portions of their essay for broadcast on KISS-FM or WPXI-TV throughout February in honor of Black History Month. Pittsburgh Public Schools, the New Pittsburgh Courier, WPXI-TV and KISS-FM are co-sponsors for the event this year.

“We continue to be surprised and delighted by the quantity and quality of the students’ essays. Their entries demonstrated not only excellent grammar and writing skills but a true understanding of Dr. King and his message,” said Ralph J. Papa, Chairman of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. “We are inspired to see that Dr. King’s legacy lives on through the younger generation. We would like to give special recognition to the Pittsburgh Public Schools and its teachers for encouraging the students to participate in the contest and learn more about Dr. King’s accomplishments.”

All schools listed below are Pittsburgh Public Schools. The 62 winners in alphabetical order are:

Name School Name School
Gina Ambrogio Allderdice Tyrone Maddox Manchester
Yazmin Bennett-Kelly Schiller Sharaya Massey Fulton
Sakina Blackman Perry Riley McKown Concord
Jai’Von Bottoms Montessori Lucy Merz Colfax
Madison Conner Banksville Luke Miller Schenley
Jacob Crum Greenfield Lyniece Milliones Fulton
Premier Daniels Manchester Aisha Osonduagwuike-Vaughns Arsenal
Rachel Deis Obama Michael Phillips Manchester
Katie Dodd Langley Yasmine Pipkins Fulton
Trevon Dunning Fulton Damon Reft Grandview
Patrick Evans Allegheny Dalezsa Regan Lincoln
Jeremiah Evans Fulton Tyrone Ripley Milliones
Matthew Flaig Concord Thomas Rone Classical
Ahmad Foreman Fulton Taleisha Royster Westwood
Lauren Gallagher South Brook Carter Sincere Fulton
Perry Glover Fulton Elijah Smith Murray
Tyah Hardeman Liberty Roshele Smith Johnson Milliones
Marvin Harden Manchester Gregory Steinert Carrick
William Hargrow Manchester Samantha Steppling South Hills
Mayah Harr Montessori Michael Tambellini Brookline
Elias Hartshorn Arsenal Josh Tarun Greenfield
Emmett Hollingshead Sterrett Tiara Travis Sunnyside
Erika Jefferson Fulton Amara Tunstalle Sunnyside
Yasamin Johnson Rooney Dana Vidic Gifted
Anthony Jones Stevens Sherdina Waymer Fulton
Monet Jones Fulton Monet Wilkins Fulton
Siarria Jones Milliones Ta'Quawn Williams Fort Pitt
Lee Jordan Dilworth Timeka Woods Milliones
Virginia Kane Fulton Dale Woodson Milliones
Adero Kauffmann-Okoko Minadeo Robert Wright Manchester
Jessica Keller Obama Adam Zell CAPA

This year a judging panel reviewed a record-breaking 1,100 entries. Contest winners from the categories of elementary and middle school will be invited to record portions of their essays at KISS-FM. High school category winners will have an opportunity to record portions of their essays at WPXI-TV. The announcements will run throughout February in honor of Black History Month.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt said, “Educating our young people today requires the cooperation and assistance of the entire community. We are extremely grateful to Citizens Bank, the New Pittsburgh Courier, WPXI-TV and KISS-FM for providing our students this wonderful opportunity to express themselves through this fun, exciting and educational exercise.”

“The educational value of the Expressions of Freedom writing contest is immeasurable,” said Rod Doss, Editor and Publisher, New Pittsburgh Courier. “In addition to helping the students better comprehend the visions and ideals of Dr. King, it also encourages students to develop critical thinking skills and utilize the fundamentals of grammar and writing.”

“Dr. King was an educator, a leader and a masterful communicator,” said Ray Carter, General Manager, WPXI-TV. “In the spirit of this great orator, some of the winning students will have a chance to demonstrate their communications skills by recording their essays in our studio. In continuing with the study of Dr. King, we hope the students walk away from this experience with an understanding of why it was important for Dr. King to use the mediums of television and radio to distribute his messages.”

The writing contest was created to provide an extracurricular educational program for students in Pittsburgh Public Schools. It recognizes outstanding achievement in writing skills, historical accuracy, creativity and substance.

Students were asked:
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. Write a short essay that demonstrates how you and other young people can fulfill Dr. King’s dream.

About Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania

Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is a state-chartered bank with dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It has 383 branches and 646 ATMs throughout Pennsylvania. It also operates 15 retail branches and 64 ATMs in southern New Jersey and a commercial loan office in Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $151 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I.

Citizens Financial Group, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, and approximately 3,500 ATMs and approximately 22,600 employees. CFG's two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).