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2023 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kandice Sumner 

Dr. Sumner has been a successful urban and suburban public school teacher and leader for over ten years. While born and raised in urban Boston, she graduated from a suburban school system via the METCO program (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity); the longest running voluntary desegregation program in America.

Dr. Sumner graduated from Spelman College Phi Beta Kappa with departmental honors. As the feature of the documentary film “Far From Home”, and author of the TedTalk "How America's Public Schools Keep Kids in Poverty" she is invited frequently to public speaking and consulting engagements facilitating difficult conversations about race, education, gender and equity. Dr.Sumner is the sole facilitator for the RACE (Race Achievement Culture and Equity) professional development series and has been a mentor in various youth programs throughout the Greater Boston Area. Dr. Sumner’s doctoral research was a Critical Black Feminist Autobiography that examined the lived experiences of a participant in METCO and calls for further work to be done in the socio-emotional, mental and racial identity development of Black individuals matriculating predominantly white institutions.


Going from being one of a few Blacks in her school to learning at a historically Black college to teaching in underserved and predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods of Boston, Kandice has spent a lifetime traversing the lines of race, class and gender.

2023 Prompt

Should our public schools teach all students:

A. That systemic racism is embedded in US laws, culture, economy, politics and education and that achieving equity requires that institutional racism in schools be dismantled?


B. That racism is solely a matter individual acts of prejudice and discrimination and that, rather than teaching about racism, schools need to make sure that African American and Latino/a students have equal opportunity.

Tenacity Challenge Video

About the
Tenacity Challenge

The Latino/a and African American Tenacity Challenge is an annual academic scholarship competition for teams of Latinx and African-American students from urban and suburban high schools across Massachusetts. Recommended team size is 6 (may not be larger than 6) students allowing for several members of each team to "specialize" in an area of the challenge preparation.  During the extended period of preparation, students build academic capacity, strengthen intellectual risk-taking and develop enduring peer and faculty relationships.

The Competition

The Tenacity Challenge competition will consist of four events centered around the theme of tenacity and leadership. The competition will take place on April 29th, 2023.  Each team will determine its own division of labor in order to prepare for the four events:


- Math Quiz Bowl Challenge (SAT Math) (There will be no Science component to the 2023 Tenacity Challenge)


 - Literature Response Challenge (Video in response to a memoir read by the team)


 - History Argument Challenge (Team will research and argue a position before a panel of judges)


 - Tenacity Art Challenge- (artistic creation completed prior to the competition date and submitted online)

A range of points will be earned for each event (see rubrics).  The highest scoring teams for each event will be recognized with certificates or trophies.  The winners of the overall competition (highest cumulative points) will win scholarships.  Each member of the first place team will win a $1,000 scholarship; second place, a $700 scholarship; third place, a $400 scholarship and 4th place a $150 scholarship.

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