Winners announced from MLK Jr. essay contest

Winners announced from MLK Jr. essay contest

Cora Hugon


The Wooster-Orrville NAACP announced the winners of the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest. This year 670 essays were submitted from schools throughout Wayne County in grades 1-12.

First-, second- and third-place winners were selected in four categories: grades 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Each winner will receive a plaque and cash award and also will be featured in the NAACP’s Virtual King Day Celebration Video. The YouTube video was released prior to the King national holiday on Monday, Jan. 17.

Links to the King celebration video will be posted on the Wooster-Orrville NAACP-Unit 3208 Facebook page, and besides pictures and videos of the essay winners, the video features local and national leaders who are working for social justice and carrying on the legacy of King. Darion Stanford will provide music.

The youngest essay writers wrote about a young girl’s story of her family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s in the southern states. The author was Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Andrew Young, one of King’s closest associates. She walked, or was carried, in the 1965 Selma March for Voting Rights.

The older students read about the 1961 Freedom Rides when groups of Black and White college students sat together on Greyhound buses, defying the local segregation laws throughout the South. Their actions unleashed the violence and brutality of southern segregationists in places like Montgomery, Birmingham and Anniston, Alabama.

King’s nonviolence was embraced by the Freedom Riders. They never fought back with Freedom Riders such as John Lewis suffering serious injury but never backing down. And they were successful. The Interstate Commerce Commission banned segregation in busses and terminals in the South on Nov. 1, 1961.

The first- through third-place winners in the essay contest are as follows:

Grades 1-3: Kanishka Gunikuntla, Melrose Elementary, first place; Jackson Holmes, Melrose Elementary, second place; and Cecilia Hostetler, Cornerstone Elementary, third place.

Grades 4-6: Cora Hugon, Parkview Elementary, first place; Max Seifried, St. Mary School, second place; and Isabella Gajda, St. Mary School, third place.

Grades 7-9: Aiiiya Tuggle, Orrville High, first place; Reka Regan, Edgewood Middle School, second place; and Ella Wallace, Orrville High, third place.

Grades 10-12: Anna Hovest, Rittman High, first place; Anzony Martinez-Santos, Orrville High, second place; and Heather Pea, Wooster High, third place.

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