The $5,000 Hannah Prize – An Open Competition for Creative Thinking On Environmental Issues


Residents of St. Michaels have noticed a “$5,000 Hannah Prize” poster around town over the past weeks. The Spy caught up with Ann Hymes of St. Michaels to find out what it’s all about.

Earlier this month, Ann Hymes launched what she has named the “Hannah Prize” – an annual $5,000 prize that will be awarded to a St. Michaels High School or Chesapeake College Student for creative thinking on environmental issues.

The prize will be awarded to the person who best answers the question:

If you had $5,000, how would you contribute to environmental sustainability, innovation or climate study?”

Fascinated by new green technologies, solar power and innovation, Hymes looks for ways to incorporate environmentally sensitive technologies into her everyday life. With a prize named after an adult daughter who was always interested and engaged with the environment and green technologies, Hymes decided to reach out to her own community of St. Michaels. Her friend Greg Farley of Chesapeake College suggested that she expand the eligibility to students at the two-year college as well.

“This is not a scholarship, think of it more like the ‘X Prize’ for environmental thinking,” said Hymes. “ I believe that it’s really important to be a creative thinker, and not simply accept the way things have always been done. With this prize, maybe a high school or community college student will be able to focus on a project that they want to pursue instead of a traditional summer job.”

Although she was encouraged to split the prize up into several smaller ones, Hymes said she was determined to offer something big enough that can really make a difference for a creative environmental thinker. “I don’t know what they might come up with,” she said, but I hope it gives someone an opportunity to try out some new ideas.

The competition is open ONLY to current students at St. Michaels High School and Chesapeake College. Three finalists will be invited to an interview by a team of 3 judges.

Applications will be assessed for originality, impact and quantification. The H Prize is not a scholarship or need-based. It is a reward for out-of the box thinking, a prize for ideas. No medical or biomedical proposals will be accepted.

Submissions may be made in the form of a letter not to exceed 1,000 words – due date is March 18, 2014. Send submissions to Ann Hymes, PO Box 367, St. Michaels, MD 21663 or

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