5th-graders' posters and essays keep King's dream sparkling

January 08, 1993|By Shannon D. Murray | Shannon D. Murray,Staff Writer

Two hundred of the city's fifth-grade students used the power of the pen, paint and magic markers to illustrate their depictions of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of racial unity.

The 12 winning students -- a racially and ethnically mixed group of African-Americans, an Indian and whites, one a Bulgarian -- presented their posters and read their essays yesterday at the 10th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Poster and Essay Awards Ceremony at Harford Heights Elementary School.

Third-place poster winner James Hicks, of Harford Heights Elementary, used paint and magic markers to recapture Dr. King standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial giving his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech.

"I think Dr. King is a great man. I like when he told the people to live together," said James, 12.

Mumeet Habeeb, the third-place essay winner, agreed with James. The Thomas G. Hayes Elementary School student implored the audience of 500 students, teachers and parents to "look past skin color and look at our brothers' and sisters' hearts."

The contest asked the fifth-graders to express their personal vision of Dr. King's dream that "the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood."

"To me, Dr. King's dream means I can achieve. I am able. I am beautiful and I am special," said Tracey Echoles of Abbottson Elementary. She won the second-place essay award.

First-place essay winner Tiffany Jones stole the show when she expressively read her modern-day interpretation of the "I Have A Dream" speech.

"Martin dreamed of a better tomorrow. I am dreaming of a better today," said the 10-year-old Thomas G. Hayes Elementary School student. "Guns and violence are out of control. People aren't following Martin's dream. If we raise our children the right way, they won't part from his teachings."

Tiffany added that hope, peace, love and homes must be restored for everyone.

Stilley Vassileva, of Armistead Gardens Elementary, said she spent four hours painting her first-place poster of four human figures -- one black, one white, one yellow and one red -- imposed on an Earth that was cupped in a pair of hands.

First-place winners received $100 savings bonds, second-place winners received $75 savings bonds and third-place winners received $50 savings bonds.

Honorable mention winners received $20 gift certificates from Security Mall, and each of the 12 youngsters received an engraved leather key chain from Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's office, a $20 gift certificate from the Prudential Health Care Plan, and citations from Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

The contest was sponsored by Prudential as part of its 4-year-old partnership with Harford Heights Elementary.

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