Parent involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement.  

In Spring 2017, all families of our students were invited to participate in a writing contest where they could use storytelling skills, personal experiences, honesty and creativity to create a compelling essay.  

“We wanted to create an opportunity for parents and families to celebrate their child’s success as well as advocate for school choice in their own words; we also wanted parents to know just how valuable their voice is to the academic and future success of their children,” said Dr. Christopher Murphy, Concept Schools Director of Strategic Growth & PR.

Winners were selected in each region as well as an overall-network winner. Winning essays were recognized with a cash award and recognition from Concept Schools.

North Ohio

1st Place: Britina Gilkey, Horizon Science Academy Lorain

2nd Place: Jodi Jensen, Horizon Science Academy Denison MS

3rd Place: Asia Hall Williams, Noble Academy – Cleveland

4th Place: Michael Torres, Horizon Science Academy Lorain


South Ohio

1st Place: Damalie Shirima, Horizon Science Academy Columbus ES

2nd Place: Jennifer Green, Horizon Science Academy Dayton Downtown

3rd Place: Adu Bonna, Horizon Science Academy Columbus ES & MS

4th Place: Rose Mary Allen, Horizon Science Academy Columbus MS


Southwest (Missouri)

1st Place: Penny Long, Gateway Science Academy South

2nd Place: Julie Franklin, Gateway Science Academy Smiley

3rd Place: Becky Kostecki, Gateway Science Academy Smiley

4th Place: Jen Barber, Gateway Science Academy South


West (MN, WI, IL, MI)

1st Place: Fehmida Ibrahim, Chicago Math and Science Academy

2nd Place: Jeen Jathool, Chicago Math and Science Academy

3rd Place: Amer Chaundry, Chicago Math and Science Academy

4th Place: Rubina & Muhammad Hanif, Chicago Math and Science Academy



1st Place: Stella Owolabi, Indiana Math & Science Academy

2nd Place: Heather Bonds, Indiana Math & Science Academy


Best in network was awarded to Britina Gilkey, an HSA Lorain parent. Her story of a military family finding home at HSA Lorain was moving and inspirational. Concept Schools is proud to play a small role in Ms. Gilkey’s and the rest of our 13,000 students’ lives.

Concept Schools is a nonprofit charter management organization that provides a high-quality, STEM-focused and college-preparatory education through a network of charter schools while offering exceptional programs, comprehensive services, and opportunities to partner in education.  

“The enthusiasm and genuine caring from the teachers has made a deep and lasting impact on our children. They have helped our children grow socially and emotionally by taking the time to really get to know and understand them as people, not just as students,” said Ms. Gilkey.

Congratulations to all of the winners, and stay tuned for information regarding next year’s parent writing contest.

Contact with questions.

By submitting an essay, you give Concept Schools the right to post your essay on our website, other educational sites, or other informational materials.