Duly Noted

Warner Norcross announces winners of MLK Essay Contest

The impact made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered and celebrated each year, noting the importance of his legacy and work. This year, Warner Norcross + Judd asked sixth grade students in Grand Rapids to enter an essay contest to discuss the lasting impacts of his legacy.

In its 13th year, the contest – which was open to all sixth graders in the Grand Rapids Public School district – asked students to explore the work of Dr. King. Students wrote about the impact he had on equal rights in society, a conversation they would have with Dr. King or the impact one of his many famous quotes has had on their lives.

In response, the firm received 342 essay submissions – 28 more than last year – from 16 different schools. Essays were judged by more than 50 Warner Norcross attorneys and staff, following the Michigan Education Assessment Program guidelines for narrative writing. The essays were evaluated for ideas, organization, style and conventions.

This year’s winners are:

—R’mani Belcher, Riverside Middle School, grand prize;

—Alayne Anderson, Center for Economicology, first runner-up; and

—Sha’Myah Dixon, Riverside Middle School, second runner-up.

Additionally, 23 students from eight different schools received honorable mentions. They attend C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy, Center for Economicology, Grand Rapids Montessori, Grand Rapids Public Museum School, Harrison Park School, John Ball Zoo School, Riverside Middle School and Sherwood Park.

All winning and honorable mention students and their parents were invited to attend the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Program held Monday, January 15, at Fountain Street Church. Belcher  read her essay, and all others were invited to stand for recognition.

The grand prize winner and, if time permits, the two runners-up will also be given an opportunity to read their essays at the Monday, Feb. 5 GRPS Board of Education meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Warner Norcross Diversity Partner Rodney Martin will be in attendance at both programs to introduce the winners.

Each winning and honorable mention student will receive a gift card to Schuler Books & Music and all others will receive a personalized certificate of participation.

The winning essays will be published on the Warner Norcross diversity website, http://diversity.wnj.com.