Oxford Area High School junior Joe Gray is one of four Philadelphia area high school students honored by the Princeton Prize in Race Relations program.
Joe, son of Donna and Joseph Gray, was awarded one of three Certificates of Accomplishment that are presented by the prize committee in addition to a $1,000 first place award. Presented in 23 regions across the United States, the Race Relations prize was established by Princeton University in 2003 to promote harmony, respect, and understanding among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities.
Joe was recognized for the leadership role he has taken as a founding member of the high school’s “Different But Equal” diversity committee, which was established in the fall of 2009 to develop strategies and activities for recognizing and celebrating diversity in the high school and throughout the Oxford Area School District community. In awarding the certificate, the Princeton Prize Committee of Philadelphia commended the committee’s work, noting that “the activities that are planned and executed are within the mission and spirit of the Princeton Prize.”
The prize committee specifically cited Joe for delivering a powerful speech at a student assembly held last fall where, through the efforts of the “Different But Equal” committee, the Anti-Defamation League officially recognized Oxford Area High School as a “No Place for Hate” school. In his remarks, Joe urged the student body to embrace diversity in the community by focusing on their shared humanity. Through Different but Equal, Joe organizes monthly meetings for discussion of race and diversity issues, and his speech served to increase peer interest and participation in these meetings.
Joe and his family attended a reception at St. Joseph’s University in honor of the students in the Philadelphia area who applied for the Princeton Prize. For the second year in a row, Joe is one of several area students selected to attend a series of workshops and lectures on race relations to be held on the Princeton University campus in May.