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 [email protected].

1st Place
Glorieux B.

2nd Place
Tiffany M.

3rd Place
Selah M.

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.

Thailyn Geter, Howard University

Elsa Hoham, Yale University

Alexis Smith, North Carolina A&T University

Sciana Vermin, Columbia University

Tiana Williams, John Hopkins University