King's dream inspires youngsters

January 07, 1994|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,Staff Writer

Zina Renee Smith rewrote her essay five times to change a few words, to add a couple of commas and to check the grammar. "It was hard work," she said.

All that hard work paid off yesterday, when she received the first-place award for her essay on "What Dr. King's Speech Means to Me" in the 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. poster and essay contest.

Zina and 11 other fifth-graders were honored yesterday at the ceremony in the Harford Heights Elementary School auditorium, where more than 500 students from city schools gathered to applaud their efforts. The ceremony was sponsored by Prudential Health Care Plan Inc. and the city school system.

"In his dream, [Dr. King] hoped that people of different races, nationalities, and religious backgrounds would one day all live in peace together," said Zina, 10, a Cecil Elementary School

student who read her essay to the audience.

"Since Dr. King lost his life as he fought for his dream, it is up to us, the people of this world, to fight peacefully, like Dr. King, to make his dream a daily part of our lives.

"When this happens, we will not only see the dream of a great man come alive, but in reality we will see God's Kingdom come alive, as outlined in his word, the Bible," she read.

Second-place winner Brandon Edwards, 10, from Callaway Elementary School, told the audience he "learned from Dr. King that you can use your mind to fight. It is not necessary for anyone to get hurt or killed. If you use your mind you can accomplish just as much or maybe even more than you would if you used violence."

Posters from the contest were displayed on the stage. Quintess Waters from Samuel F. B. Morse Elementary won first place for her poster depicting people of different nationalities holding hands under a hovering Earth, surrounded by the words "We Have a Dream . . . Equality."

Kenneth Andre Burley from Beechfield Elementary came in second with his poster depicting a black family and a white family weighing equally on a scale under the heading "All Men Are Created Equal."

Other winners in the essay contest were: third place, Karen Faustin from Cecil Elementary; honorable mentions, Katye Spagnolo, Hampden; Patrice Johnson, Cecil; and Bjorn Brock, Frederick.

Other poster winners were: third place, Lamont Anderson, Dallas F. Nicholas Sr. Elementary; honorable mentions, Anthony Jenkins, Cecil; Tavon Hasty, Franklin Square; and Kimberly Jones, Cecil.

All winners received the Prudential Award of Excellence. Top winners received portable radios, gift certificates and savings bonds worth up to $100.

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