The contest, which includes middle and high school students in the five states of the Southeast, was first organized by the Istanbul Center in 2006 and is co-sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and the United National Alliance of Civilizations.
Black was selected as the winner among more then 2,000 other entrants, a feat that was surprising to her.
“I submitted it on Feb. 9 and heard back in early March,” she said. “I was very surprised. I didn’t think I would get first place over all those thousands of applicants.”
Black, along with the other entrants, contributed either an essay or art piece under the 2013 theme of The Human Footprint on the Environment: Impacts and Solutions.
For Black’s entry, she concentrated on pollution for the focus of her essay.
“I submitted an essay that talked about the negative effects that industrial pollution is having on our environment,” she said. “I talked about how people who are the most affected are those living in poverty. They usually take the brunt of all the detrimental actives in the environment.”
She also talked at length about the solutions to the problem.
“Young people can get involved and students my age can learn more about the environment so that they can help their neighbors,” she said.
For her prize, Black won an all-expenses paid 10-day trip to Turkey in early June. She will make the journey with her sponsoring teacher, Erica Veasey, who is an advanced placement English teacher.
Black also won an iPad and a trophy. She is excited about the sights she will see in Turkey.
“I’m most looking forward to learning about the culture and visiting all the old buildings,” Black said.