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Raea Jordan and Raine Badua were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges as Top Scholarship winners in Tier 1 (15-18) category and Tier 2 (13-14) category Esther Productions Inc.’s scholarship contest for 2022. Three other young ladies—Simaya Hammond, Dominique Barksdale and Rahel Belay-Tseganeh—were given Honorable Mention designation. Cash Awards totaling more than $2,200 were distributed.

The winners were selected from a group of more than two-dozen teen girls between the ages of 13 and 18. Those who did not receive cash prizes were each presented with $25 gift cards during an awards ceremony on Dec. 10th held at The Woman’s National Democratic Club in Washington, DC. Esther Productions Inc., program co-sponsor The Black Student Fund along with members of the community, congratulated all the young ladies.

Anita Josey-Herring, chief judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia,

presented the awards. On the court, she has been extensively involved with family and children, including as the deputy presiding judge of the Family Court. She brought important insight and inspiration to the event during her remarks.

Discovering Me…Without You Scholarship essay contest was launched in 2019 by the Fatherless Daughter Empowerment Project, a division of Esther Productions Inc. The essay contest is designed to educate the public about the importance of fathers in the lives and development of girls and women. Nationally, more than 24 million children are growing up in homes without their fathers. In the Washington Metropolitan region at least 60 percent of homes are single-parent households, many of them headed by women. The contest is intended to provide a platform for some of those children, particularly fatherless girls, to explain the impact of father absence in their lives and their efforts to reach self-actualization and empowerment.

The entries were judged by a team of successful professional leaders and youth, including Ana Acevedo, co-chairperson of Esther Productions Inc.; Patricia Bitondo, Woman’s National Democratic Club; Dr. Misty Freeman, a local psychologist who works with students; Alycea Gayle, a senior at DC International Public Charter School; Ana R. Harvey, a former senior executive in President Barack Obama’s administration; Alicia Henry, a nonprofit and government expert; Shelly Livingston; Leroy Nesbitt, executive director of The Black Student Fund; Winfield Swanson with the Woman’s National Democratic Club; and Addison Switzer, co-chair of Esther Productions Inc. and CEO of BuckWild Media.

Winning essays will be featured on during the months of January and February. A book of essays will be released later in 2023.

Esther Productions, Inc. is a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit organization. Founded in 2004, it is dedicated to inspiring and empowering girls and women. The Discovering Me Summit and Awards Ceremony was supported through generous contributions from Kerry S. Pearson LLC, Emmanuel Bailey, Fort Myer Construction Corporation Charitable Foundation, the Cornelia Bailey Foundation through The Black Student Fund, David Jannarone, A. Scott Bolden, and Esther’s Friends, which including Melvin Mitchell, Ana R. Harvey, Lamont Mitchell, Philip Pannell, and Rosalind Blunt. Special Thanks to Afrika Abney, Arts and Marketing Consultant and The Woman’s National Democratic Club.

Photos: Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring with Raea Jordan and jonetta rose barras; Raine Badua (Tier 2/ Middle School winner in center with Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring to the left and jonetta rose barras on the right.

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