When Tara Michener began dating her husband Jason, the reaction was not always pleasant. The mixed race couple faced several insensitive questions about their relationship. Based on those experiences and observations she made while training adults in race-relations courses, Tara decided to author books as a way to better foster communication about diversity.
Jason is always supportive of Tara’s efforts, often accompanying her to book signings when he’s not working. When he heard that the Princeton University Class of 1966 had begun a competition to highlight high school students working to improve race relations, he was happy to become involved as an alumnus of Princeton.
Now they are co-chairs of the selection committee in Detroit and their work has been very rewarding.
“Lots of negative things are said about high school students, but I’m finding more through the work that I do that those things just aren’t true,” says Tara. “These kids are truly amazing.”
They both stress that students interested in applying for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations know that grades are important if students want to get into college, but grades also do not tell the whole story about a person.
“We don’t look at grades. This is all about what they [potential applicants] have done to improve race relations in their community,” Tara explained.
After the selection committee decides this year’s winner, that student will receive a three day trip to Princeton University. There, they will attend a symposium on race relations with students from other cities, including Cleveland, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Houston. They will also receive a cash award of $1,000.
Interested high school students need to complete a two page application and receive a recommendation from a non-related adult supporter of their work. Applications are due January 31, 2011.