Essay and Video Competition

 The Annual Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group

 Essay and Video Competition

Don’t just read history; live it. Join the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group

1st Prize $250, 2nd Prize $150, and 3rd Prize $75 (plus a HLLG T-Shirt and a free Tour of Turner Station)

Please read the following statement on AI:  While you may use generative AI like ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas and look up answers to questions, all other use of generative AI should be limited to tools like spellcheck. Your essays should represent your ideas.

Mission: The Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group (HLLG) exists to protect, preserve, and promote the legacy of Henrietta Lacks and her singular contributions to modern medicine. It also exists to serve as a clearinghouse for activities that extend Lack’s legacy and the history of Turner Station, Maryland, where Lacks resided at the time of her death. The essay and video contests support the organization’s mission.

  1. Eligibility: The competition is open to all students enrolled in middle and high school (grades six through twelve). It is also open to home-schooled students in each of the categories.
  2. Prompt: Henrietta Lacks was resident of Turner Station, Maryland, who died in 1951 of cervical cancer, and whose cells (known as the HeLa cells) have been used to develop vaccines, drugs, and treatments for diseases including polio and COVID-19, among other scientific achievements. Based upon this information students should:
  3. Write an essay explaining the contributions made by Henrietta Lacks, and why she should be celebrated as a national public figure. (Middle school)
  4. Compose a multiple paragraph essay that reflects on the singular contributions of Henrietta Lacks to modern science, medicine, and research and why it is so important to remember her legacy today. (High school)
  5. Create a video (of images, interviews, etc.), reflecting on the singular

contributions of Henrietta Lacks to modern science, medicine, and research and why it is so important to remember her legacy today. Use your creativity. (Open to both middle and high school students)

  1. Guidelines: All essay entries must be written in English and typed. Entries should also be formatted according to the submission format guide (see attached). Elementary and middle school compositions should be approximately 250-500 words, while high school compositions should be approximately 500-600 words in length. Video submissions should be no more than five minutes in length and emailed as a media file attachment or URL link.
  2. Complete the ENTRY FORM at and submit the essay entries, media file or the URL link to your video submission to projecthllg@gmail.comby midnight, Monday November 25, 2024.

Winners will be announced on Friday January 31, 2025, and recognized during Women’s History Month at Morgan State University, 1700 E. Cold spring Lane, Baltimore MD 21251.

For more information, contact us at PO Box 21882, Turner Station, MD 21222.

Visit our website at

Contact Mrs. Natasha Holder-Cumberbatch at

Essay Format Guideline

  • One-inch margin on all sides of the page
  • Double spaced lines
  • New Times Roman 12pt. font
  • Page headers should contain the student’s last name and page number.


Anytime you paraphrase, quote or summarize a passage belonging to someone else, you must document the source. Similarly, anytime you use copyrighted material, including video clips, images or music, you must cite your source.