Weekend Highlights

Published January 22, 2013
Our Schools

Be Inspired: Winning Youth Essays on Injustice

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Award winners Quinn Lysaker-Angelou, Chloe Sheppard-Shaw and Ada Bowles.

Three girls – all Lake Washington Girls Middle School students – won the King County Civil Rights Commission’s 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest, open to all eighth grade students attending public and private schools in King County. The purpose of the essay contest is to get local students to think critically about Dr. King's legacy of peace and justice.

This year's essay contest theme was: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Congratulations to first-place winner Quinn Lysaker-Angelou, second-place winner Chloe Sheppard-Shaw, and third-place winner Ada Bowles. Their awards were presented on Jan. 17 at a special event at The 5th Avenue Theatre. To read their remarkable essays, visit the King County Civil Rights Commission website.

Patricia Hearn, first teacher and founding Head of School at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, said: "This contest is unique in that it doesn't ask the usual questions about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy. Rather, the contest asks our students to reflect on encounters with diversity and injustice in their own lives, and this, we find, is much more challenging work. The writing that emerges from this work is grounded in the girls' life experiences, truth and emotion.”

Since Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s opening in 1998, the topics of social justice and diversity have been intentional, welcomed and fostered in the classroom. With a humanities curriculum molded around human rights, social movements and activism among different minority groups, the girls are taught not to shy away from difficult topics and conversations.

To learn more about the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest, and be inspired by winning essays from past years, visit www.kingcounty.gov/exec/CRC/MLKEssayContest/MLKEssayWinners.aspx

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