We got word about this. Pass it on to friends, family, students, etc. The sponsor website and full scholarship info have more. Here’s the release

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Alltel Wireless, America’s largest network, and world renowned poet Dr. Maya Angelou are teaming up to celebrate Black History Month with the fourth annual “Words of Wisdom” essay contest. Students at participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide are encouraged to submit their responses to the following question: “In remembering the past, what will you do to contribute to a brighter future?”

“As the next generation strives to find their place in society, it is important for them to reflect on their unique history as well as the lessons history offers to shape their goals and aspirations,” said Regina Woziwodzki, director of multicultural marketing for Alltel Wireless. “We are excited to offer students a forum with our ‘Words of Wisdom’ essay contest to share their life experiences and improve our society through their experiences.”

Ten Grand Prize winners will each receive a $5,000 scholarship to a participating HBCU institution of their choice as well as a trip to Little Rock, Ark., to meet Dr. Maya Angelou and enjoy a private concert with R&B sensation Ruben Studdard. While in Little Rock, students and their guests will also enjoy tours of local landmarks, such as the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.

Participants will be judged on their responses to the essay question as well as their ability to strike an emotional chord and exude passion through writing.

“I’ve very much enjoyed meeting our next generation of young people, hearing their words of wisdom and witnessing the change they’re looking to make that will undoubtedly benefit all of us,” said Dr. Angelou. “I am honored to have been apart of this program for three consecutive years because I truly believe in Alltel’s commitment to the education of African-American students across the country.”

Essay submission forms and contest rules are available online at www.alltel.com/wordsofwisdom. Entries must be post-marked by March 1, 2008, and winners will be presented with their awards on March 31, 2008. Graduating high school seniors who will be attending HBCU institutions also are eligible to participate.

Alltel is owner and operator of the nation’s largest wireless network and has more than 12 million wireless customers. For more information about Alltel, please visit http://www.alltel.com.

About Dr. Maya Angelou

An internationally respected poet, writer, civil rights activist and educator, Dr. Angelou has authored best-selling titles such as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “Gather Together in My Name,” “The Heart of a Woman” and the collection of poems “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie,” which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The first black female director in Hollywood, Dr. Angelou has written, produced, directed and starred in productions for stage, film and television.

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