By Rianna Russell ’18
Four students in Ms. Joan Rowe’s True Crimes class won an annual competition that celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s achievements.
For the competition, students could choose to write an essay or a poem to show through their writing the fundamentals MLK held throughout history and how they apply to society today.
“I’m so proud to know that four of my students placed as finalists. Two of my students were essay winners and two of my other students won the first and second place in the poem category,” said Ms.Rowe.
Ms.Rowe assigned the prompts to her classes as a mandatory assignment. However, her students had the choice of submitting their pieces into the competition for extra credit on a test. The purpose of this assignment was for students to develop researching skills and become aware of how current events and history are connected.
True Crimes elective is a class that focuses on nonfiction based texts and how crimes affect our communities. The social justice unit proved to be a beneficial source in helping Katha Agnant ’17 write her second placed poem.
“Since I am African American, MLK is one of my heroes. During peaceful protesting, he was wrongly imprisoned and in true crimes we learned about how and why people are convicted,” said Agnant ’17.
Estrella Roberts ’17, the first place poem winner, tackled the subject of racism in today’s society. She also describes her poem as an outlet to have her voice be heard.
“The issue of slavery is a huge problem in society today. The Black Lives Matter movement and different forms of protest not only highlight the positives and negatives in society but also sheds light on MLK’s protests for freedom,” She said.
Cherene Tse ’17 didn’t think she stood a chance in winning, however, she was pleasantly surprised when she received an email stating she had won the second place in the poem category. She used her poem to talk about injustice and equality. In this poem, she talks about the issues that present the difficulties in society today.
“When I started researching about current events, it made me be aware of what was happening but also made me want to express my feelings about it, in writing,” said Tse ’17.
Abdullah Tariq ’17, an essay winner, wrote about how MLK would handle police brutality in a modern day. Along with his $200 prize, he also expressed how winning the competition can be a perfect addition to his college application.
These students will not only receive various cash prizes, hoodies, and books but will also attend a ceremony on MLK day for their winning entries. At this ceremony, they will perform portions of their pieces and be given V.I.P treatment.
“I am excited because I will be surrounded by people with similar understanding about what is happening in the world,” said Agnant ’17.
All the students will be accompanied by their families when they attend the ceremony and Ms.Rowe will also be attending to show her students support.