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Mlk Essay Contest 2016 Denver










The theme for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. writing, speech and art contests this year is &#;Take a Stand for Truth and Justice.&#;

Writing Contest | Sponsored by the Milwaukee Teachers&#; Education Association and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Speech Contest | Sponsored by We Energies

Art Contest | Sponsored by the Brewers Community Foundation and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

This year&#;s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration will be held at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, January 14, at 1pm. The winners of the speech, art, and writing contests will be recognized at this event. Plan to join us!


Group Project:  Grades K-1

Winner:         Burbank, Grade 1, Room

Teacher:        Christine Sylvester

Students:      Nevaeh Ashford, Noah Brito, Aviana Brown, Raeyah Byas, Davis Chanthavona,

Briana Davis, Eli Haase, Ashadeeyah Khidhr, Sariah Perkins, Jason Renfro,

Zuri Renova, Cooper Stricklen, Blake Vang, Jayden Xiong


1st                   Micah Webb, Grade 3, Golda Meir

Teacher:  Ms. Galloway

2nd                 Nikyonna McDaniels, Grade 3, Emerson

Teachers:  Tyra Merriweather, Raven Davis, Chequetta Ferguson

3rd                 Sophia Wood, Grade 3, Trowbridge

Teacher: Desire Tyler


1st                   Nicolas Holtzman, Grade 4, Milwaukee German Immersion

Teacher:  Doris Mattke

2nd                  Nancy Thao, Grade 4, Bruce

Teacher:  Cecelia Williams

3rd                  Lelaya Clay, Grade 5, Elm Creative Arts

Teacher:  Glenda Stacker


Grade 6

1st                   Tatiyana Dockery, Grade 6, Keefe Avenue

Teacher:  Aruna Halala

2nd                 Golden Brown, Grade 6, Golda Meir

Teacher:  Hannelore Kinney

3rd                 Nakiyah Gooden-Alexander, Grade 6, Keefe Avenue

Teacher:  Aruna Halala



1st                   Faith Abdirahman, Grade 7, Salam

Teacher:  Ms. Schauer

2nd                 Daisy Kiekhofer, Grade 8, Golda Meir

Teacher:  Ms. Navarro

3rd                 Vaughn Smith, Grade 8, Golda Meir

Teacher: Ms. Navarro


1st                   Christian Delfosse, Grade 9, Rufus King

Teacher:  Kelly O’Keefe-Boettcher

2nd                 Christian Kind, Grade 10, Milwaukee High School of the Arts

Teacher:  Mrs. Claypool

3rd                  Eleajah Thompson, Grade10, Milwaukee High School of the Arts

Teacher:  Mrs. Claypool

Grades 11 and 12

1st                   Amani Omari, Grade 12, Salam

Teacher:  Jason Then

2nd                  Lauren O’Hear, Grade 11, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory

Teacher:  Margaret Holtgrieve

3rd                  Tien Vo, Grade 12, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory

Teacher:  Margaret Holtgrieve



There was no one behind the knock at the apartment door. Just a note.

Her aunt and uncle needled Miriam Castillo to read it out loud. Maybe it was a message from a secret admirer, they joked.

The sixth-grader opened the letter and read the profanity-laced sentences that will never leave her.

“You wetbacks, why are you staying here? Go back to your country. You're not worth anything here.”

It went on, but Castillo had to put the paper down.

“I didn't know how to react,” says Castillo, the youngest child of a then-undocumented Mexican mother and now a third-year psychology and sociology student at DU. “I know up until that point I never thought people saw me or my family differently. But after that note, I did.”

Castillo, born in the United States, always knew her mom, who suffers from epilepsy, had to clean houses under the table to raise three kids on her own. She knew her mom could never find an official job.

But with that offensive letter in hand, she resolved to prove people like the author wrong.

Her weapon, she says now, was her dream: a college education — something no one in her family possessed.

The note came to mind as Castillo wrote her college application essay, as she visited campus and as she met people in DU’s Excelling Leaders Institute, which works to build leadership and community among minority students.

Castillo no longer felt “different,” despite the obstacles facing so many students with a similar heritage. They’re the obstacles she wants to take on, as she plans to march in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Marade.

“I feel like in the Marade, you see the people surrounding you and you see you’re not the only person going through similar circumstances,” Castillo says. “We’re all striving for the same thing: We’re just trying to improve our lives and our communities. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s attainable.”

It’s certainly not easy for Castillo to wake up at a.m. to catch the first of two light rail trains that bring her to campus each day. But she considers it an investment in her family and in this country’s future. She wants to pursue a doctoral degree after she graduates.

“If you firmly believe in something, stand up for it,” she says. “Go to school. Become smart. Educate yourself about things going on in the world. Find out how you can be a part of it and make it better.”

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