Winton Woods Primary North students perform before an award presentation in the Underground Railroad Freedom Center theatre. Photo by Drew Jackson.

Winton Woods City Schools and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center partnered for a second year to host another successful evening entitled “A Night of Freedom: Rise Up” on March 22.


The event exceeded expectations with over 1,200 guests including families and community members. All in attendance were treated to a night that featured a reception, musical performances, a visual arts gallery walk, student academic project exhibits, and award presentations.


“As one of only two New Tech Network districts, we believe that the creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving developed through wall-to-wall project-based learning (PBL) is crucial for 21st century skills,” said Corina Denny, community engagement coordinator for the district. “This year’s event provided our students the opportunity to exercise these essential college and career readiness skills by creating projects that were authentic, engaging, and, above all, relevant. Through this experience, our students used their voices to ‘Rise Up’ against social injustices which connects directly with the Freedom Center’s belief that ‘through education and inspiration, everyone can take part in the ongoing struggle for freedom.’  We believe providing opportunities for our students to exercise those skills now will maximize their success in the future.”


The culmination of the evening was the award ceremony featuring several musical performances. The Global Awareness Award was given to the projects that best connected global awareness and/or a current global issue to the themes found in the Freedom Center. The Innovation Award was given to the projects that took a creative and innovative approach to learn from the past to address current local and/or global issues surrounding freedom and individual rights. The Art Award was given to the artists who, through their art form, inspire freedom or use art to communicate to others the important words and ideas of the peacemakers of our world, both past and present. The Inspiring Freedom Award was given to the one project that embodied the ultimate ideal of the Eternal Flame of Freedom and engaged the community to take part in the ongoing struggle for freedom.


K-6 Winners

The Global Awareness Award - “How Can We Rise Up Against Injustice?” Teresa Stone’s students

The Innovation Award - “Ohio Abolitionists” Missy Webb’s students

The Art Award - “The Bird” Andrew Escobedo

The Inspiring Freedom Award - “Rise Up” Heather Ward’s students


7-12 Winners

The Global Awareness Award - “Rise Up for Mobiles 2” Evan Stumpf, Kiara Gaines, Makayla Whittie, Michelle Alaniz, Zakira Williams

The Innovation Award - “Rise Up for Mobiles 1” Payton Mack, Jade Coates, Isaac Sneed, Jayla Lee, Aliyah Yisrael

The Art Award - Darion Hassert

The Inspiring Freedom Award - “Mass Incarceration” Kaveon Cunningham


“Thank you to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, volunteers, parents and community for making it another incredible year,” said Denny.

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