Warner Norcross announces winners of MLK Contest

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has announced the results of its 10th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest.

The contest, which was open to all sixth-graders at Grand Rapids Public Schools, asked the students to prepare an essay focused on how Dr. King’s legacy of peace and justice applies to the world in which they live.  This year’s competition included a record 327 entries from students at 10 schools.

The winners, followed by the first paragraph of their essays, are:

Bodie Bickford, Mr. Boosamra’s Sixth Grade Class, Center for Economicology, grand prize

Heroes and role models use their gifts to help make the world a better place. They put the needs of others in front of their own needs and look for ways to help others. Heroes are courageous and brave. They do not run away from danger but instead they run towards it if they think someone is in need. Heroes are kind and nice and they never make people feel bad about needing help. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a great example of someone who is both a hero and a role model. He used his gifts to make the world a more fair and just place for all people and he was rave because he knew that not everyone greed with his ideas and that he could die. My parents are not as famous as Dr. King but they are heroes and role models for my brothers and me.

Tanya Floyd, Ms. Holt’s Sixth Grade Class at Riverside Middle School, first runner-up

We all have a dream no matter where we live or who we are. Everybody DREAMS! Some people have selfish dreams like to win millions of dollars in the lottery, or to become a princess or a prince. But my dream isn’t like that; it is selfless like Martin Luther King, Jr.’s! In his “I Have a Dream” speech I read some sentiments that are like mine. For example Dr. King said, “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.” Like Dr. King, I dream of ending unfair things, too, like teasing, bullying, discrimination, beheadings and hangings.

Demarus Jackson, Ms. Holt’s Sixth Grade Class at Riverside Middle School, second runner-up

My definition of a hero is someone who helps people. Dr. King fits this definition because he did help people by trying to stop segregation. My friend Brent is also a hero but in a different way. He helps me with homework and he helps me with many other things. We are different races, but I think Dr. King would like that. Wasn’t that his whole point right from the very beginning?

The remainder of the winning essays can be read on the Warner Norcross diversity website: http://diversity.wnj.com.

Each winning student will receive a certificate of deposit and a gift card to Schuler Books and Music.  Additionally, 22 students from five schools received honorable mention recognition. They each will receive a gift card to Schuler Books and Music.

Bickford has been invited to read the top-winning essay at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Peace Program at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19 following the Community Peace March and again at the Annual Celebration program at 6 p.m.  Both events will be held at the Grand Rapids Community College Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse. All winners and honorable mentions are invited to attend both events and will be recognized as a group.

The three winners will be given an opportunity to read their essays at the GRPS Board of Education meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, if time permits.  Warner Norcross Diversity Partner Rodney Martin will be in attendance to introduce the winners.

Essays were judged by more than 50 Warner Norcross attorneys and staff according to Michigan Education Assessment Program guidelines for narrative writing.  The essays were evaluated for ideas, organization, style and conventions.