Scholarship Contest: What Kind of Ancestor Will You Be?

Scholarship Contest

What Kind of Ancestor Will You Be?

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center spotlights the stories of ancestors who endured and battled against slavery in the United States. These ancestors, freedom seekers and freedom fighters, modeled the courage, cooperation, and perseverance that inspires and guides us to pursue social justice for all. Their actions influenced future generations.

The Freedom Center wants to know: What kind of ancestor will you be?

You are invited to answer this question and participate in a scholarship competition sponsored by PNC Bank. Eligible participants include current high school seniors who will graduate in 2022.  First prize will receive $1,000, second prize $750, and third prize $250.

The actions you take today and tomorrow can be a model for future generations to follow. You have the power, so how will you use it? We challenge you to reflect upon the example you wish to set for others and determine a course of action that will make it happen. Your actions speak volumes. What do you want to say?

Submission Requirements

Submissions must be in the form of a two-minute video. In the video, explain the lesson future generations will learn from your story. In addition, tell us what you intend to do in your life that will set an example for others to follow. Perhaps you will continue upon a path, or perhaps you will change the path you are currently taking. Don’t focus on your past actions. The Freedom Center wants to know your intentions for your future.

In addition to the video, applicants must provide their current school transcript as proof of their projected 2022 graduation, and a letter of recommendation from an educator, coach, or youth leader.

We encourage you to use your creativity and submit a video that reflects who you are and who you want to become. Submissions will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:

  • Lesson of your story: Identify the lesson you want future generations to learn from your story. What will others learn from your life?
  • Explanation: Include a clear and detailed explanation of why this lesson will be important for future generations. How will this lesson help other people?
  • Action plan: Identify actions you intend to take in your life that will set an example for future generations. How will these actions illustrate the lesson of your story?
  • Video length: Videos longer than two minutes in length will be disqualified.
  • Video quality: Evaluators must be able to hear and see you.

Submission Deadline

Submissions (video, transcript, and letter of recommendation) must be submitted to by April 22, 2022. Contest winners will be announced on Juneteenth, June 19, 2022. The top three and honorable mention submissions may be shared on National Underground Railroad Museum Center social media channels.


The Freedom Center strives to be inclusive. If you require accommodations to participate, we want to assist you. Perhaps you are unable to upload a video or need to submit in sign language or Spanish. We want to hear your story, so email and let us know how we can accommodate you.


Asia Harris, Youth Programs Manager

Sponsored by: