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Enter the MLK Advancing The Dream Essay Writing Competition
You could win a $500, $750 or $1,000 scholarship.The 2017 MLK Essay Contest is open to high school seniors attending Arlington schools or residing within the Arlington city limits. Scholarships to help defray the cost of college tuition and books will be awarded to the winning first, second and third place essay writers.
First Place – $1,000 Scholarship
Second Place – $750 Scholarship
Third Place – $500 Scholarship
This Year’s Theme is “Advancing the Dream: A Nation of Freedom and
Justice (What can be done today to make Dr. King’s
dream of freedom and justice a reality in our community?)”
How To Enter
SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 5 PM FRIDAY, NOV. 18, 2016
Please mail all entries to:
Arlington Police Department/Media Office
620 W. Division St.
Arlington, TX 76011
- One essay per student. Essays must be original, typed, double-spaced, and must not exceed 1,500 words.
- Cover sheet must contain student’s name, school, home phone number, address and email address. None of this information should be included in the body of the essay.
- E-mail essay as a Microsoft Word document attachment to Cheryel.Carpenter@Arlingtontx.gov
- Essays will be judged on the basis of organization, content, voice, creativity, grammatical structure and overall conformity to the theme.
Entries will be judged in November 2016. Winners will be formally recognized at the Arlington Martin Luther King Jr. Advancing the Dream Awards Banquet on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 and throughout
the four-day celebration weekend. For more information about the MLK Essay Competition 2017, contact Cheryel Carpenter at Cheryel.Carpenter@Arlingtontx.gov or 817-459-5384.
What does it mean to be Asian-American? Or Nigerian-American? Or simply American?
Winners in Carnegie Mellon University’s 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards tackled topics from self-identity and racism to terrorism and the U.S. presidential election. The awards program—established in 1999 to give high school and college students a safe, creative space to explore racial and cultural differences—received a record-breaking 220 entries from 16 high schools and five colleges.
The student winners, who will receive cash prizes and have their pieces published in a booklet distributed at the event, will read their poems and essays at an awards ceremony on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. in the CMU Cohon University Center Rangos Ballroom. Local music groups will also perform, and the family-friendly event is free and open to the public.
“I was particularly excited to have a number of new schools participate this year. The more schools that submit work, the more representative of the community the awards become,” said Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English who founded and directs the awards program.
Zainab Adisa, age 17 and a student at Pittsburgh CAPA, won first place in high school poetry for “We Are Americans.” In it Adisa struggles with a Brazilian friend who tells her she is not an American.
No, I am not American, he’s right.
My blood lines the heritage of Nigerian
village kin whose accents flow in a wind
I have yet to tame and words
I’ve yet to claim.
But when he says,
“You are not American”
I know he knows nothing about my heritage.
Without knowing, he is referring to citizens
of the United States of America.
to the blondes
with blue eyes
and peckish habits,
to the brunettes
with long legs
and apparent attitudes,
to the pale skinned
with their perfect
to the “blacks”
with kinky curls
and grease slathered fingers
and lastly, the mulatto hued
with a sense of limbo
hiding between their words.
Daniels, an award-winning poet, was impressed with Adisa’s ability to shape her poem, relying on original language and imagery to convey the complexity of her subject.
CMU senior Melanie Diaz won first place in the college prose category for “Being Mexican-American Post-Election.” Diaz, an English and global studies double major, takes readers through the three days following the 2016 election. She reflected on what her grandmother would have thought of Trump, how her mother will cope and what the future holds for her 15-year-old sister. And she wrote about her tears and reactions from a professor.
I look at my little sister’s picture, and it’s one of the ones with her smiling. It’s a photo of the day she and my mom dropped me off at college. She had her short hair then from donating the rest of it to cancer patients, but her smile is still exactly the same. During the election, she said she was ready to go to Canada. What was I suppose to tell her? What was I going to tell a little girl who’s been trying to escape the limitation of her brown skin all her life?
“Every year the submissions bring surprises, but the range and quality of stories this year was particularly impressive. While the recent election showed up in a number of pieces, it was more of a catalyst for students to tell their individual stories than to go off on a political rant. The maturity of these young people in discussing sensitive topics is truly inspiring,” said Daniels.
The 16 high schools with student submissions were Allderdice, Brashear, CAPA, Carrick, Fox Chapel, the Kiski School, Lincoln Park Performing Arts, Oakland Catholic, Obama Academy, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Penn Hills, Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, Shadyside Academy, Westinghouse, Winchester Thurston and Woodland Hills.
Students from five colleges entered the contest: Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon (including the Silicon Valley campus), Chatham University, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards are sponsored by CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of English, Office of Student Affairs and Office of the President.
The 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Award Winners
High School Prose
First Place:Being a Minority in a School of the White and Privileged
Djibril Branche, 16
Shady Side Academy
Second Place:Gate No. 1
Zihao Kong, 17
Third Place:Sono Con Voi?
Adero Kauffmann-Okoko, 17
Third Place:The “S” Word
Kristen Deasy, 17
Oakland Catholic High School
Katherine Davenport, 17
Shady Side Academy
Honorable Mention:Eskimo Box Days
Cherisse Tompkins, 17
Honorable Mention:Just Because
Emma Steckline, 14
High School Poetry
First Place:We Are Americans
Zainab Adisa, 17
Second Place:I Am Not Wrong: Wrong is Not My Name
Elsa Eckenrode, 18
Third Place:Wide Tooth Comb
Ciara Sing, 16
Ruthanne Pilarski, 16
Honorable Mention:Route 28
Becca Stanton, 17
Honorable Mention:Black Lives with Corrupted Minds
Katerria Weldon, 17
Taylor Allderdice High School
First Place:Being Mexican-American Post-Election
Melanie Diaz, 21
Second Place:Dear Sir
Christian Manaog, 19
Third Place:Am I a Terrorist?
Shamanta Mostofa, 21
University of Pittsburgh
Honorable Mention:The Truth from my Chair
Carnegie Mellon- Silicon Valley
Honorable Mention:Mixed Girl Problems
Julianne Mercer, 18
University of Pittsburgh
Katherine Huang, 21
Indigo Baloch, 22
Third Place:some assembly required
Honorable Mention:The “Dirty” Mirror
Kyle A. Burnett, 22
University of Pittsburgh
Theresa Abalos, 18
Honorable Mention:Engineering 101
Pragna Mannam, 20
Read all of the award-winning entries.