2nd Annual Black History Month Essay Contest In Honor of the late Garth C. Reeves, Sr.

Breakthrough Miami is excited to share the 2nd Annual Black History Month Essay Contest in honor of veteran, community leader, equality and civil rights activist, black press magnate, the late Garth C. Reeves, Sr.

Amidst unprecedented challenges in the midst of the pandemic, we received a record number of Scholar essay submissions this year. Forty-five Scholars worked with Directors and Support Staff to identify a local pioneer and develop a compelling narrative demonstrating their contributions to South Florida. Today, as we honor the legacy of Garth C. Reeves, Sr. and his mission to speak truth through the power and reach of one of the oldest black-owned media companies in South Florida, we celebrate our Scholars whose submissions reflect his vision, focusing on African-Americans’ Acts Of Courage And How They Shaped South Florida.

Scholars this year were encouraged to discover South Florida history, exploring African-Americans who made an impact on their community and whose stories are seldom told. The diverse subjects of their essays included great South Floridians who inspire future generations including the honoree Garth C. Reeves, Sr., Dana Albert Dorsey, Athalie Range, Dorothy Fields, Felicia Hatcher, Valencia Gunder, Benny O’ Berry, Georgia Jones Ayer, and Carl E. Yaegar.

We are pleased to announce the winners:

Elementary School Winners:
Asly Rivera, Grade 5
Santa Clara Elementary
1st Place –  Agenoria Spearman Paschal the great leader!

Daira Perez, Grade 5
Tropical Elementary
2nd Place – How Olivia Love Edwards changed South Florida

Chloe Asley Gabriel, Grade 5
Tropical Elementary
3rd Place – Benjamin L. O’Berry
Middle School Winners:
Christen Voltaire, Grade 6
Devon Aire K-8 Center
1st Place – Physician and Leader – Carl E. Yaeger Jr. 

Brandon Cervantes, Grade 6
Author and Polly Maze
2nd Place – M. Athalie Range

Taylor Mack, Grade 6
iPrep Academy North
3rd Place – Georgia Jones Ayers

Ana Gonzalez, Grade 7
Ransom Everglades School
1st Place – Range for Change – Athalie Range

Sheila Fernandez, Grade7
South Miami Middle School
2nd Place – My Doctor, My Hero – Dr. Tina Carroll Scott

Jonmarc Hall, Grade 7
Rainbow Christian Academy
3rd Place – Thelma Gibson

Elicia Lee, Grade 8
Ransom Everglades School
1st Place – Dorothy Jenkins Fields: History Maker of South Florida

Arthur Escoto, Grade 8
Frank C. Martin K-8
2nd Place – Dana A. Dorsey’s influence on South Florida

Zachary Rodriguez, Grade 8
Frank C. Martin K-8
3rd Place – Calvin R. Mapp Sr.

High School Winners: 
Jaheim Golden, Grade 11
Young Men’s Preparatory Academy 
1st Place – Dr. Enid C. Pinkney: The perseverance through the preservation

Maya Douyon, Grade 10 
Coral Gables Senior High
2nd Place – Valencia Gunder

Chyle Briggins, Grade 12
Doctors Charter School
3rd Place – Marie Athalie Wilkinson

The essay contest was established to honor Dr. Reeves, publisher emeritus of The Miami Times, who passed away at 100 in late 2019. As the only job he had, aside from serving in the Army during World War II, Reeves’ energy in running the landmark black-owned paper would impact the lives of countless families in South Florida. He’d found his life’s calling — to serve as a voice for the black community. He knew no better job. Reeves, who oversaw the black-owned paper his father initially printed one page at a time on a small hand press in a modest Miami home upon its founding in 1923, and who kept it in the family as it evolved into its digital edition today, died two months after his daughter, Rachel, passed. She was the publisher of The Miami Times, assuming the mantle of leadership from her father and grandfather. (Miami Herald, November 2019) Breakthrough Miami is proud to have Regina Jolivette-Frazier, Reeves’ niece, as a long standing member of the executive committee of our board of directors.

Garth C. Reeves, Sr. is a tall tree in the forest in which his community sought salvage from the elements. His work in the publishing world and ultimately his founding of the Miami Times gave voice to countless stories otherwise untold. What’s reflected in the sentiments of our scholars in their essay entries is a resonating theme of perseverance, hard work, and justice, similar themes found in the ethos of Breakthrough Miami programming. Our scholars did a wonderful job making the connection between the lessons learned from researching their chosen pioneers and what they continue to learn as Breakthrough Miami scholars. Below, are a few excerpts from our winning essays that demonstrate just that.

Read the First Place Essays in Each Grade Level

Agenoria Spearman Paschal the great leader! – Asly Rivera, Grade 5, First place


Physician and Leader, Carl E. Yaeger Jr. – Christen Voltaire, Grade 6, First Place


Range for Change, Athalie Range – Ana Gonzalez, Grade 7, First Place


Dorothy Jenkins Fields: History Maker of South Florida –  Elicia Lee, Grade 8, First Place


Dr. Enid C. Pinkney: The perseverance through preservation –  Jaheim Golden, Grade 11, First Place


The Miami Times Features Garth C. Reeves Sr. Essay Contest.

Jaheim Golden, a first-place place winner for Breakthrough Miami’s Garth C. Reeves Sr. essay contest, holds a photo of Enid Pinkney at the Historic Hampton House. (Webber Charles)

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