Regions Riding Forward® Scholarship Essay Contest

Stories Worth Sharing Happen Every Day

Whether it's a story of individual impact or community efforts for change, the leadership and actions of Black Americans who inspire us are stories worth sharing. Tell us about a Black American individual who has inspired you for the opportunity to earn a $3,500 or $5,000 college scholarship.

2021 Regions Riding Forward® Scholarship Winners - College

College Winner

Winning Essay by Valerie Bownes

College Winner

Winning Essay by Charity Brinson

College Winner

Winning Essay by Xavier Chatman

College Winner

Winning Essay by Jai'Den Clark

2021 Regions Riding Forward® Scholarship Winners - High School

High School Winner

Winning Essay by Taylor Ballard

High School Winner

Winning Essay by Anna Benton

High School Winner

Winning Essay by Armaine Dela Cruz

High School Winner

Winning Essay by Nya Fowler

The dedication of each Black activist who supported San Francisco’s 504 Sit-In is a story worth sharing.

In April of 1977, people with disabilities staged protests across the country to demand adding regulations to the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Though other protests stopped due to lack of support, San Francisco’s sit-in continued for the 28 days it took for the government to comply. This was largely due to support from Black leaders with disabilities and their allies who coordinated food drop-offs, medication delivery, and protection. The bravery of these activists helped people with disabilities preserve their rights and increased accessibility throughout the country.

The drive of each activist in the Black Student Union Strike is a story worth sharing.

From November 1968 to March 1969, the Black Student Union (BSU) at San Francisco State University organized a strike to convince the college to open more slots for students of color and to reinstate a prominent Black professor. Members of the BSU helped students of other ethnicities form their own groups to strengthen the protest. These students faced threats, violence and some were even arrested, but in the end their actions resulted in the school forming the College of Ethnic Studies and agreeing to accept virtually all students of color for the following semester. This remains the longest student strike in U.S. history.

The bravery of each Black activist who led the Fair Housing Marches is a story worth sharing.

The summer of 1967 marked the start of Milwaukee's Fair Housing Marches. The city's NAACP Youth Council led hundreds of community members in a march to protest inequality and to convince the city to create legislation that banned discrimination in the selling and renting of housing. For 200 consecutive nights, Black activists gathered their community and courageously faced angry crowds as they crossed into the exclusively white South Side. Thanks to their determination, Milwaukee passed open housing ordinances the next month.

Whose inspiring story will you share?

Write about a Black American individual who has inspired and motivated you for the opportunity to earn a $3,500 or $5,000 college scholarship. Essays should be 500 words or less and should:

  1. Address how a Black American individual has been an inspiration in your life.
  2. Discuss the contributions of the Black American individual who has served to inspire and motivate you.

High School Seniors

Regions will award $5,000 scholarships to 15 high school seniors who live in states with Regions branches and will attend an accredited college in the United States during the 2021-2022 academic school year.

College Students

Regions will award $3,500 scholarships to 15 freshmen, sophomores or juniors who permanently reside in, or currently attend an accredited college in, states with Regions branches and will attend an accredited college in the United States during the 2021-2022 academic school year.

Regions believes in supporting the students whose passion and actions every day will continue to make stories worth sharing. That’s why we have awarded over $1 million in total scholarships to high school and college students.

How to Enter

1. Complete an online application

Enter the Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest from February 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021. Complete and save all requested information.

2. Write your essay

Choose a Black American individual whose story worth sharing has inspired you. It could be a historical figure, someone famous, a role model or a person you know. Just make sure the individual inspires and motivates you. For guidance, review the “How to Enter” instructions and the "Contest Judging" criteria in sections 4 and 5 of the Official Rules, and be sure your essay is 500 words or less. You can write your essay directly in the application, or you can copy and paste it into the appropriate area in the application form.

3. Review and submit

Review your information, check your essay for spelling and submit your entry by 11:59:59 p.m. Central Time on March 31, 2021.

4. Await notification

Winning essays are selected by an independent panel of judges who are not affiliated with Regions. If your essay was selected, you will need to respond to ISTS with the required information. Scholarship checks will be awarded by July 31, 2021.

Eligibility

For purposes of this contest:

  • The "Eligible States" are defined as the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
  • An "accredited college" is defined as a nonprofit, two or four-year college or university located within one of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia.

To be eligible to enter this contest and to win an award, you must be either a high school senior or a college freshman, sophomore or junior and meet all of the following applicable criteria at time of entry.

High school seniors:

  • Be a legal U.S. resident of one of the Eligible States
  • Be age 13 or older
  • Be enrolled in 12th grade in a public or private school (or home school) located in one of the Eligible States
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (as calculated on a 4.0 scale)
  • Plan to attend an accredited college during the 2021-2022 academic school year

College students:

  • Be either a legal U.S. resident of one of the Eligible States or a legal U.S. resident (of one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia) enrolled in an accredited college located in one of the Eligible States
  • Be age 16 or older
  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate freshman, sophomore or junior at an accredited college and have least one year (or 18 credit hours) remaining before college graduation
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (or, if no GPA is provided by your school, be in "good standing" or the equivalent)
  • Plan to attend an accredited college during the 2021-2022 academic school year

Insights by Regions

Find answers to your financial questions with articles, calculators and tools from Regions. See our Insights.

View Official Rules

© 2021 Regions Bank. NO PURCHASE OR BANKING RELATIONSHIP REQUIRED. PURCHASE OR BANKING RELATIONSHIP WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. The 2021 Regions Riding Forward Scholarship Essay Contest begins on 02/01/21 and ends on 03/31/21 at 11:59:59 PM CT and is open only to certain High School Students and College Students who meet the eligibility requirements described in the Official Rules. At time of entry, (a) a High School Student must be a legal U.S. resident of one of the Eligible States and be enrolled in 12th grade in a public or private school (or home school) located in one of the Eligible States, and (b) a College Student must be a freshman, sophomore or junior currently enrolled in an accredited college in the U.S., and either (i) a legal U.S. resident of one of the Eligible States or (ii) a legal U.S. resident (of one of the 50 United States or D.C.) enrolled in an accredited college located in one of the Eligible States. (For purposes of Contest, the “Eligible States” are defined as the states of AL, AR, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, SC, TN and TX.) Visit regions.com/ridingforward for complete Contest eligibility and essay requirements, Contest details and Official Rules. Eligible entries will be grouped according to student’s status (High School Student or College Student) and associated Eligible State, and judged by a panel of independent, qualified judges. Fifteen (15) High School Student Prizes (one per Eligible State) will be awarded consisting of a check in the amount of $5,000 made out to winner’s accredited college. Fifteen (15) College Student Prizes (one per Eligible State) will be awarded consisting of a check in the amount of $3,500 made out to winner’s accredited college. Sponsor: Regions Bank, 1900 Fifth Ave. N., Birmingham, AL 35203.

Regions is committed to celebrating local talent and recognizing those who elevate our communities. The beautiful illustrations used in our Stories Worth Sharing series were created by independent, Black American artist, Candice Tavares, known as NoelleRX. She likes to tackle difficult issues with her art in a powerful and positive way.