Racial equality essay winners honored
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Winners in the Port Angeles School District’s Martin Luther King essay contest for 2014 include, front row, from left, Demetrius Young, kindergarten, Franklin School; Brooklyn Davies, third grade, Franklin; Payton Smithson, first grade, Roosevelt School; Liana Arabadji, kindergarten, Hamilton School; Berkley Thompson, first grade, Franklin; Samantha Combs, second grade, Franklin; Mary Bulus-Steed, fourth grade, Jefferson School; Lily Moseley, second grade, Roosevelt; and Peyton Rygaard, second grade, Roosevelt; second row, from left, Rianne Rodocker, fifth grade, Jefferson; Zachary Neff, first grade, Jefferson; Jay Madrid, third grade, Franklin; Easton Merritt, second grade, Franklin; Jacsen Shook, third grade, Franklin; Elijah Corp, third grade, Franklin; and Matthew Dankert, fourth grade, Hamilton; third row, from left, Myra Walker, fifth grade, Hamilton; Jesse Driese, fourth grade, Franklin; Korin Urtezuela, sixth grade, Hamilton; Meiqi Liang, sixth grade, Franklin; Amelie Atwater, sixth grade, Franklin; and Anna Gentry, sixth grade, Franklin; and fourth row, from left, Madeline Montana, fifth grade, Dry Creek School; Lauren Rankin, eighth grade, Stevens Middle School; Robert Mast, eighth grade, Stevens; Freja Jarvegren-Uecker, eighth grade, Stevens; and Claire Fritschler, ninth grade, Port Angeles High School. — Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Peninsula Daily News

HERE ARE EXCERPTS from first-place essays and one honorable mention in the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Race Equality Essay Contest:

■   Claire Fritschler, ninth grade, honorable mention, on the greatest problem students face:

“What I see every day, in the eyes of each teenager passing me in the halls of Port Angeles High School, is a loss of understanding for what the point of our education really is.

“. . . We have forgotten why we need to understand what the teacher in front of us is saying. We have lost the knowledge that tells us why any of this work applies to us.

“. . . We need to find a way to solve this all-consuming problem, for the side effect is that learning is put to the wayside once we start to think it is unnecessary.”

■   Robert Mast, eighth grade, on if he believes King’s ideal of equality has been achieved:

“Inequality is an ongoing fugitive and needs to be prosecuted. Martin Luther King Jr.’s idea on inequality was for everybody to be treated equally. Yet people today are bullied because of their race, weight, height, sexual orientation and many other qualities that make them who they are.

“. . . If there was equality, then everybody would be happy and you wouldn’t have to feel pain of getting bullied like I have.”

■   Meiqi Lang, sixth grade, on a quote from King:

Chosen quote: “Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

Lang said: “When I witness what goes on in the world today, I feel hopeless, like I can’t do anything to help.

“. . . When I read this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., . . . it rang true.

“It means that there is something I can do to make a difference, starting with me, inside me, to change the world. I can fill my heart with love.”

■   Amelie Atwater, sixth grade:

Chosen quote: “I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Atwater said: “I dream of a day when surveys do not ask me to choose which race I am.

“. . . With a ‘white’ father and an ‘Asian’ mother, I am confused which box to check.

“. . . What percentage of black makes a black man? The question, while ridiculous, is sadly important.”

■   Madeline Montana, fifth grade, on someone in their lives with admirable character traits:

“Martin Luther King Jr. and my dad have a common personality. While King was an important influence to most people today, my dad, a firefighter, is an influence when it come to my life today.”

■   Mary Bulus-Steed, fourth grade, on imagining making the world a better place:

“One day, my sister and my mom and I were walking on the beach. . . . We walked until we saw a seal; it was washed up on the beach.

“Madison shouted, ‘We need to do something!’ Then she asked ‘What can we do?’

“‘Well, we can call a center that can help,’ mom replied. She took out her phone to call a center. We started to walk home.

“I told Madison ‘We can also help by picking up pollution, like plastic, bags and cans.’”

■   Brooklyn Davies, third grade, on making the playground a better place:

“I think I could make the playground a better place by making a Stop Those Bullies Club.

“In the Stop Those Bullies Club, we walk around the school, putting up signs that say ‘Don’t be a bully; stop bullies.’

“. . . I, Brooklyn Samantha Davies, don’t want others to suffer through what I was going through.”

■   Samantha Combs, second grade, on resolving conflicts:

“When a person is lonely, you should ask them to play. Then you have a new friend. They now have a new friend and are happy, too.

“If one person does it, the whole world can do it.”

■   Zachary Neff, first grade, on making schools more fair:

“Martin Luther King Jr. wanted everyone to be treated fairly.

“. . . Let [beginners] be in any [game]. They can play because they’re important like you.”

■   Kylie Brandt, kindergarten, on what she would say to King:

“Thank you, MLK, for bringing hope to our world.”
PORT ANGELES — The City Council recently honored the 25 winners of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Race Equality Essay Contest, which drew 909 essays from Port Angeles School District students.

Copies of the winning essays will be displayed in the Central Services Board Room, 216 E. Fourth St.

Winners were honored in an award presentation ceremony by the City Council and Superintendent Jane Pryne on Tuesday, March 18.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of racial equality was the focal point for the contest.

Students were given various prompts, which ranged in difficulty according to grade level.

Kindergartners were asked to draw a picture of themselves with King and write what they would say to him.

First-graders were told to talk about how they could make their schools more fair, while second-graders were to focus on resolving conflicts with friends peacefully.

Third-graders were asked how they could set an inspirational example for other to make the playground a better place.

Fourth-grade students imagined what they would do to make the world a better place.

Fifth-graders chose character traits they admire and wrote about someone in their lives with those traits.

Sixth-grade students chose one quote from King and explained why it was important to them.

Seventh- and eighth-graders were asked if they believed King’s ideal of equality has been achieved in America.

Ninth- through 12th-graders were asked to write what they felt to be the greatest problem students face now and how to solve it or to describe character traits leaders need to deal with the country’s problems.

Judges were Sandra Biasell and Brenda Lovik of the Port Angeles School District, and Jessie Cuttie, Mark Haines and Keidi Niemann of the Coast Guard.

No winners were chosen in the seventh grade, nor in 10th through 12th grades.

This year’s winners, their schools and teachers:

Ninth grade

■ Honorable mention — Claire Fritschler, Port Angeles High School, teacher Michael Poindexter.

Eighth grade

■ First place — Robert Mast, Stevens Middle School, teacher Laurie Day.

■ Second place — Freja Jarvegren-Uecker, Stevens Middle School, teacher Day.

■ Third place — Lauren Rankin, Stevens Middle School, teacher Day.

Sixth grade

■ First place tie — Amelie Atwater and Meiqi Liang, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Maria Kays.

■ Second place — Anna Gentry, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Kays.

■ Third place — Korin Urtezuela, Hamilton Elementary School, teacher Jeff Lunt.

Fifth grade

■ First place — Madeline Montana, Dry Creek Elementary School, teacher Sarah Schaefermeyer.

■ Second place — Rianne Rodocker, Jefferson Elementary School, teacher Sandra Biasell.

■ Third place — Myra Walker, Hamilton Elementary School, teacher George Kheriaty

Fourth grade

■ First place — Mary Bulus-Steed, Jefferson Elementary School, teacher Sue-Ellen Kraft

■ Second place — Matthew Dankert, Hamilton Elementary School, teacher Trent Pomeroy

■ Third place — Jesse Driese, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Terri Longin

Third grade

■ First place — Brooklyn Davies, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Stacy Ritchie

■ Second place — Elijah Corp, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Debbie Erickson

■ Third place tie — Jay Madrid and Jacsen Shook, Franklin Elementary School, teachers Ritchie and Erickson, respectively.

Second grade

■ First place — Samantha Combs, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Nancy LeBlanc.

■ Second place — Lily Moseley, Roosevelt Elementary School, teacher Sharon Fritschler.

■ Third place tie — Easton Merritt, Franklin Elementary School, teacher LeBlanc; and Peyton Rygaard, Roosevelt Elementary School, teacher Fritschler.

First grade

■ First place — Zachary Neff, Jefferson Elementary School, teacher Marilyn Mattie.

■ Second place — Berkley Thompson, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Suzanna Keegan.

■ Third place — Payton Smithson, Roosevelt Elementary School, Kristen Lunt.

Kindergarten

■ First place — Kylie Brandt, Hamilton Elementary School, teacher Sarah Hochberger.

■ Second place — Liana Arabadji, Hamilton Elementary School, teacher Linda Waknitz.

■ Third place — Demetrius Young, Franklin Elementary School, teacher Jessica Baccus.

Last modified: March 27. 2014 6:57PM
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