Book Awards

Emma Ruff Essay Writing Contest

Emma Ruff was New Haven's first African-American teacher and Connecticut's first female high school principal.  She taught English at James Hillhouse High School and was named principal of the school from 1977-1981.  Ms. Ruff was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a charter member of Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter.  An essay writing contest was established in her name to pay tribute to her contributions in education in the New Haven community.

The Emma Ruff Essay Writing Contest is open to all students at James Hillhouse High School.  Students submit a typed, original essay consisting of 500-1,000 words.  Some of the judging criteria include insightfulness and creativity, organization and development of ideas expressed, consistency in the use of language, and variety in sentence structure and range of vocabulary.  A student at James Hillhouse High School who is interested in entering the contest should contact his or her guidance counselor or e-mail

2022 Essay Topic: "Discuss the Pros and Cons of Metal Detectors in Schools"

1st Place - Tremayne S.

2nd Place - Selah M.

3rd Place - Elsa H.

Other Book Awards

When extra fundraising resources are available, Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter will award smaller book awards to runner-up scholarship applicants and other deserving students through writing, poetry and poster contests.

2022 Book Award Recipients

Kaateje Welsh, Tufts University

Laila Smith, University of Southern California

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