The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 3, 2013

10-year-old girl wins black history writing contest

Ruth Rice

JOHNSTOWN — Ten-year-old Caleigha Williams is the grand prize winner in a black history writing contest sponsored by Laurel Highlands Historical Village.

She received $50 in cash, a certificate of excellence, a jelly art set and an invitation for her family to attend an educational field trip sponsored by the historical association, said Paulette Baker, secretary-treasurer of Laurel Highlands Historical Village.

The Johnstown-based organization is seeking to create an ethnic-centered heritage village that will reflect life in earlier times and is accessible to the public.

Contest participants were asked to write about any true story connected with their black heritage or a story passed down from their ancestors.

The submissions were judged on interest, journalistic or storytelling talent and command of word usage and spelling.

Caleigha wrote about her grandparents; her mother, Callie Williams; and her aunts, Judea Thomas and Lataisha Williams.

“Caleigha lives with her mom and her younger sister, Heaven, at Coopersdale Homes,” Baker said. “Her mom catches the bus most days to Ryan’s restaurant, where she is a cook.

“What impressed us most about Caleigha is the loving and deeply re­spectful way she writes about her grandparents, her mom and her aunts.”

Caleigha enjoys cheerleading and reading fiction, nonfiction and history. She also loves her church and the Bible.

The Story About Caleigha’s Family

Hi, my name is Caleigha Williams. I’m writing about my family. I’ll just start out by telling you about my grandma, Nancy, who was born in Johnstown. My grandma had grown up in the Kernville area. She dis­covered her gift in southern cooking. She was known for her lasagna and potato salad. As she got older, she began cooking for people, dishes of fried chicken, barbecue ribs and much more. She also is the head cook at her church. She also works very hard at the (Conemaugh) Lee Campus.

The second person who inspires me is my grandpa, who was born in the South and also grew up there as a great football player. He works very hard to try to keep the bills paid in his house. He also is a deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church. What he also does is cook, clean and wash clothes every day. He also makes sure his family has clothes, shoes and a coat on their backs.

The third person who inspires me is my mom. She works very hard to make sure her kids have clothes and coats on our backs and shoes on our feet. My mom is a good cook, and she was struggling in the past, but she has her life together now. She is working on opening up a restaurant called Southern Cooking, and she is 32 years old. My mother is a great mother that loves all of her kids, and she also makes sure that we have great food! My mother also cleans, cooks and washes clothes. She learned her cooking from her mother and her driving from her father.

She has two sisters named Judea Thomas and Lataisha Williams. Well, Lataisha Williams has five kids and she takes good care of them, and she makes sure that her kids have clothes and coats on their backs and shoes on their feet and that their hair is done! And she makes sure her family has just everything that they need. Then Judea Thomas has two kids, and she loves them very much, and she sure makes good chili! But, then, that runs in the family! That is my story about my family.


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