WHA Students Win National Book Writing Contest for Marian Spencer book

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

Marian Spencer was born on June 28, 1920. Her legacy is a story of bravery and service to all people. In 1952, she filed a lawsuit against Coney Island, which was segregated, and won. She continued to be a civil rights activist and even vice mayor of Cincinnati, and other countless contributions to the community and humanity.

But it was in the fall of 2018 that teachers at Winton Hills Academy were made aware of a nationwide writing contest from the National Youth Foundation with the theme “Local Heroines”. Four fourth grade Winton Hills Academy girls chose to write about Ms. Spencer because their friend and Foundation co-founder Joe Wilmers knew Ms. Spencer. The girls hoped he could help with information about her, and he did! The girls researched and got input from Mr. Wilmers and after months of tireless work, finished the book.

The girls had become so inspired by Ms. Spencer’s life that they wondered if there might be a chance to meet her and show her their book, which had been submitted for the contest. The contest became unimportant; the girls’ priority and true prize was getting to meet Ms. Spencer, which Joe Wilmers arranged at Marian’s nursing home.

The girls were so excited!!! They dressed up and made paper copies of their book to show and read to Ms. Spencer, and took her a bouquet of flowers. They read their book to her. Ms. Spencer was so gracious and spoke words of wisdom to the girls, as they hung on every word she said, “When something is wrong, you have to be brave enough to stand up and do the right thing!”


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