MANATEE -- Dec. 9 is the deadline to submit entries for the 2012 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. speech and essay contest. And organizers want students countywide to get involved by submitting essays.
Organizer Patricia Johnson said Dr. King’s work stressed nonviolence, family and community. Thus this year’s contest question: How are you actively working or how would you actively work to encourage those beliefs?
Organizers stressed the following stipulations:
n Entrants must be a middle or high school student in the Manatee County School District.
n The essay must be the student’s work.
n Each entry must be typed and double-spaced.
n The submission must include a cover sheet with the entrant’s first and last name, complete home address, home phone number, school name and grade level.
n Only one entry per student is allowed.
Middle and high school grand-prize winners will read their essay at the Martin Luther King Jr. banquet Jan. 13. They will also take part in the MLK parade Jan. 14.
Entries must be turned in or mailed to the Palmetto Youth Center, Attention: Essay Contest, P.O. Box 608, Palmetto, FL 34221.
Student semi-finalists will be notified by Jan. 1.
Grand-prize winners earn $150 and a computer. Second-place winners receive $100, third-place winners $75.
The 2011 high school winners were Dakota Lawson of Southeast High School, Destiny Weeks of Palmetto High School, and Southeast’s Charles Fulghum and Mackenzie Yaryura.
Middle School winners were Madelyn Kumar of Nolan Middle, Dalisha Floyd of Oasis Middle, Nolan’s Sidney Price and Maleesa Moore of Electra Lee Middle.
“We had a good group,” Johnson said of last year’s entrants.
First-place winners Dakota and Madelyn wrote about what they could do to make a difference in the community.
“Everyone and everything on this planet are connected no matter race, religion, fame or fortune,” Dakota said. “You matter. What you do every day, the choices you make, the way you interact with people, it all matters. It can change the world.”
Madelyn offered a different take.
“Dr. King’s words have inspired me to ask myself: What am I doing for others?” she said.