College’s annual writing contest honors Martin Luther King Jr.

January 26, 2010

Whether it’s sticking up for someone who is being bullied, singing carols to residents of a local senior citizens facility, or recycling to help save the Earth, student writers across Carroll County expressed through essays and poems the many forms that community service can take as they reflected on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Inspired by this year’s theme, “The Beloved Community: Our Shared Responsibility,” Emma Kartalia, a fifth-grader at William Winchester Elementary School in Westminster, penned a winning poem that included this excerpt:

“I stood up for that girl,
I stood up for harmony,
I stood up for others,
Just as the man with a dream
Did so long ago,”

Colleen Carroll, an eighth-grader at Sykesville Middle School, wrote in her winning essay about using her 12th birthday as a way to get her friends involved in the act of helping others:

“Instead of presents, I had my friends bring canned goods,” she wrote. “After the party, we took the canned goods to my local church. They took them and gave them to families who didn’t have enough food.”

In addition to Emma’s and Colleen’s winning entries, Flannery Bendel-Simso, a fifth-grader at William Winchester Elementary School, and Ashlee Vrzak, an eighth-grader at Sykesville Middle School, were chosen as Honorable Mentions for their entries.

All of the students will be recognized at McDaniel College’s 12th annual celebration at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1 in Decker Center Forum.

The evening will include a dinner with some of Dr. King’s favorite dishes, a live performance and multimedia tribute titled, “King’s Dream,” and a special awards presentation to the winners of the annual writing contest.

This event is co-sponsored by the MLK Community Outreach Committee, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Communications and Marketing, Carroll County Public Schools' Office of Minority Achievement and Intervention Programs, the Carroll County Branch of the NAACP, and the Carroll County Times.

The program is free, but reservations are required because seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat, please contact the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at 410-857-2791 or at