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Kansas University

High school students win cash prizes at KU’s Black Leadership Symposium

November 07, 2008

Kansas University
1314 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045

Press release contact information

Jim Peters, Continuing Education, (785) 864-9142


LAWRENCE - Three high school students earned cash prizes for their writing skills at the 23rd annual Black Leadership Symposium held Oct. 23 at the University of Kansas.

Winners of the "Reading Gets You There" contest were Lawrence Free State High School student Ruaa Hassaballa, 11th grade; Salina High School Central student Rachal Jackson, ninth grade; and Shawnee Heights High School student Brea Lewis, 12th grade.

They were among more than 400 African-American students from Topeka, Kansas City, Wichita and other regional high schools and junior high schools participating in the KU-sponsored symposium that offered workshops and dialogues promoting leadership. This year's theme was "Quest for Your Best and Take the Lead."

The reading competition required students to read selected books and write reviews on such authors as Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Harriet Jacobs, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Ernest J. Gaines, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Margaret Walker and Richard Wright.

High schools selected students to participate based on academic achievement and leadership potential. Students attended workshops about leadership, the importance of a post-secondary education and college preparation.

Two KU students, Christopher James Reine, a senior from Kansas City, Mo., and Koga Ndikum-Moffor, a junior from Overland Park, presented "All You Ever Wanted to Know About KU" and presided as masters of ceremonies for the lunch entertainment. Students were also treated to a performance by rapper Susan Clay of Arizona. Reine is the son of Camille Reine of Kansas City, Mo., and a graduate of Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City. Ndikum-Moffor is the daughter of Florence and Gaston Moffor and a graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School. Both are preparing to study medicine.

Barbara Ballard, associate director for outreach at KU's Dole Institute of Politics, and Robert N. Page Jr., director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, led concurrent workshops on black female and male leadership.

The symposium included a workshop for high school counselors and advisers on issues students and staff face as they navigate the college search process and a keynote address by Anthony Moore, assistant to the president for diversity and cultural competency and professor of education at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe. He is an educational consultant and CEO/president of Performance Leadership Group, a nonprofit education, leadership and business development consulting firm.

The conference was sponsored by KU's Office of the Provost, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Admissions and Scholarships, Multicultural Resource Center and Continuing Education.

Students who attended the symposium are listed by high school at

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