DENVILLE, NJ-- Ifeoma White-Thorpe is just your every day teen. She goes to school at Morris Hills High School, runs on the track team, and focuses on her social life. However, recently, White-Thorpe won a national essay contest, at the age of 15.

The contest is run by the National Liberty Museum, John Templeton Foundation and Paramount Pictures. The movie Selma came out in January, and this speech and essay contest was in memory of the 50th anniversary of the Selma March. The contest asked the applicants to submit a 500-700 word essay and deliver the speech in three minutes on video.

Out of 800 overall submissions, White-Thorpe walked away the grand prize winner of the contest. As the grand prize winner, she was given a $5,000 scholarship. White-Thorpe already has plans for her scholarship, as she wants to study at Brown University. 

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"I want to enroll at Brown University in their PLME program. It's their undergraduate and medical school combined. It's an eight year program," White-Thorpe said.

In addition to being recognized at an awards ceremony in Philadelphia, Mayor Tom Andes invited White-Thorpe and her family to a Denville Town Council meeting. Andes honored White-Thorpe with a special Denville pin and very nice remarks.

"I felt extremely blessed and honored to even come to the meeting. I like public speaking and I was excited to perform more than anything," White-Thorpe said about reciting her poem at the Denville Township Council meeting. 

White-Thorpe does not just stop at her love for public speaking. She is involved heavily in her community at Morris Hills. As just a sophomore, she is a member of the Morris Hills High School track and field team, part of the relay teams that broke two school records. She is also a member of the student government as the junior class vice president. Her GPA is between a 4.0 and a 4.2 and she takes all honors classes. Next year, as a junior, she will be taking five AP classes.

In the community, she also serves as the treasurer for Morris County Teen Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. As a member of the Student Global Ambassador Project, she works with People  to educate the upcoming generation on the UN's Millenium Development Goals (MDG's) and Sustainability Development Goals (SDG's). 

"I hope to glorify God in everything I do,"  White-Thorpe said when asked about why she does everything she does.

White-Thorpe's essay will be on display until the SELMA exhibit is taken out of the National Liberty Museum. 

Congratulations Ifeoma on a job well done.