2021 Prompt

The media has repeatedly claimed that COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on African-American communities.  Unfortunately, the media does not provide a deeper analysis of why this is so.  Accordingly, uninformed people, particularly those who are not from communities of color, do not understand the causes for this, and may blame the communities themselves.  Minimally, this is a missed opportunity for helping people understand systemic racism.


Your challenge is to craft a comprehensive and compelling argument for how this disproportionate impact is a consequence of systemic racism.  Your audience is that large group of people who believe that racial inequities are only due to people's prejudices, and who do not understand systemic racism.  Please conclude with a few proposals for addressing two or three of the areas of systemic racism that you will have identified as contributing to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.

About the Tenacity Challenge

The Latino and African American Tenacity Challenge is an annual academic scholarship competition for teams of Latino 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

Tenacity Challenge Video

The Tenacity Challenge competition will consist of four events centered around the theme of tenacity and leadership. The competition will take place on March 28th, 2020.  Each team will determine its own division of labor in order to prepare for the four events:


- Math & Science Quiz Bowl Challenge (SAT Math, Physics, Chemistry)


 - Latino and African-American Literature Response Challenge (Filmed Performance of a Creative Response, Accompanied by a Rationale)


 - 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 displayed at the competition.


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 $500 scholarship; and third place, a $300 scholarship.

Group Pic 2015