Read the Winning Essays in Melrose’s Martin Luther King Day Contest


The Human Rights Commission held another successful Martin Luther King Day observance this past weekend, with volunteers fanning out all over the city for a Day of Service followed by a potluck dinner and annual program. The highlight of the program was the presentation of the winning essays in the HRC’s annual essay contest. Here are the award winners:

Sukey Hampson, Hoover Elementary School, grade 1

Martin Luther King Jr. was a peacemaker. He gave speeches about freedom and how to treat people equal. He gave these speeches because black people were treated unequal. Because of what he did things changed like black people can sit anywhere on the bus and black children can go to school with white kids. But not all of the work is done so someone else has to keep going for him.

A peacemaker is someone that makes sure that everyone gets some of what they want and everything they need. A peacemaker doesn’t exclude anyone and stands up for other people. A peacemaker stands up for Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideas.

One thing I can do to be a peacemaker is learn about and help others learn about other cultures. That might help us understand how we can work together and play together. Every year for my birthday instead of presents I ask my friends to bring donations. This year I am going to ask for books about different cultures, fairness and how to make a difference in the world to donate to Hoover’s library. Learning about different people’s lives can be a win-win, because if you learn about each other you can be better friends.

I already helped people be peacemakers by creating a club that any first grader could help make care packages for people who help us. We met two times. The first time we made care packages for the teachers in our school. The second time we made cards for the people who work in the office.

Martin Luther King Jr. taught us that we should be peacemakers and be fair no matter who we are and no matter who the other people are. I hope that people treat each other better in this world.

Olivia Frakt, Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School, grade 6

There are many different things I can do to make a difference in the lives of others and to support inclusion in my community. I can start by taking after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself by raising awareness about equality and inclusiveness. Dr. King did many things to support inclusiveness and was very brave. He led rallies and marches even though lots of people wanted him dead. This has inspired many others to support inclusiveness, and I wasn’t to do the same.

One thing I can do to support inclusiveness in my community is to always stand up for others, and not to put others down. If I see someone being bullied or picked on, I can help them out and show them I will always be a friend to everyone, no matter what. This will show others how to be inclusive, and they might start trying it, too. That way, soon enough, everyone will be united in inclusiveness and kindness. This relates to what Dr. King was doing because he was stood up for inclusiveness between races, which has inspired many others to stand up for what they believe is right.

When I think about inequality, a famous quote comes to mind. Dr. King once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. August 28th, 1963). A person is still a person, no matter what color their skin, eyes or hair is, no matter what gender they are or what their background is, and no matter their capabilities. Dr. King stood up for all that, made a large impact on our society, supported inclusiveness and helped create the America we know today. I admire that, and in turn I can also make a difference in the lives of others.

Natalie Gage, Horace Mann Elementary School, grade 5

We can all make a difference. All we need to do is believe and remember others who have made an impact in our lives.

Martin Luther King Jr. made a huge difference. He was the leader that led the African-American civil rights in the 1950s through the 1960s. He gave a very powerful speech that changed everyone’s lives. This famous speech was named, “I Have A Dream.” “I Have A Dream” was about how African American citizens and white citizens should be treated as an equal group. This speech helped make the law change to make everyone get treated equally.

Rosa Parks also helped change that law. Rosa Parks was African American like Martin Luther King Jr. There was a law which made African American people stand on the bus so white people could sit. Rosa decided she did not want to stand so she sat down and wouldn’t get up. Because of this, she was taken to jail. While she was in jail, people protested and she finally got out of jail. After that, the law changed.

Anyone can make a difference. You don’t have to make a huge difference like Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. Your difference can be as simple as saying thank you, helping someone elderly or even just go to the beach one day and clean an area of trash. Little things can make a difference. Some people volunteer at a soup kitchen.

Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. made a difference, and so can you. All you have to do is work hard and stay positive.


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