Dominion Energy and S.C. Department of Education announce winners of Strong Men & Women in South Carolina History student writing contest

April 21, 2022

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and Dominion Energy are pleased to announce the winners of the second annual Strong Men & Women in South Carolina History student writing contest. One winner was selected from each of South Carolina’s five regions: Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee, and Upstate.

The winners are:

  • Tyleigh Spiller, Junior – Homeschool/Edgefield (CSRA)
  • Hayley Hylton, Junior – Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Lowcountry)
  • Shaniya Jeffcoat, Senior – Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School (Midlands)
  • Jayla Jones, Junior – Lake City Early College High School (Pee Dee)
  • Sarai Winkler, Junior – Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (Upstate)

“For the second year in a row, we have witnessed so many talented young writers share their incredible stories of inspiration,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “I want to thank all of the students who participated this year, and I congratulate our five winners – Tyleigh, Hayley, Shaniya, Jayla, and Sarai.”

The contest, which builds on the SCDE’s long-standing South Carolina African American History Calendar, encourages South Carolina high school juniors and seniors to write a 500-word essay about an African American with ties to the Palmetto State who has been an inspiration in their life.

“In South Carolina, one of our greatest natural resources is our people,” said Keller Kissam, president of Dominion Energy South Carolina. “We are honored to spotlight these talented high school students and to give them the opportunity to tell us – in their own words – about the men and women who have had an everlasting impact on them and our great state.”

Winners will receive an Apple MacBook Air, and their school or home school association will be awarded $1,000. The students will also be recognized during the unveiling ceremony of the 2023 South Carolina African American History Calendar in October.

View the winning essays:


About the South Carolina African American History Calendar

For the past 33 years, the South Carolina Department of Education and its statewide partners have produced the South Carolina African American History Calendar. An idea that initially was created to help bolster the state’s K-12 African American history curriculum, the calendar profiles individuals who have had positive, compelling impacts on South Carolina and, often, our entire nation.


About Dominion Energy

About 7 million customers in 13 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE:D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy and to achieving net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions from its power generation and gas infrastructure operations by 2050. Please visit to learn more.