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Students vying for MLK essay recognition

Published 10:17am Thursday, January 16, 2014

With cash prizes looming, 23 middle school and five high school students from Lawrence County submitted essays for the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest. First, second and third-place winners will be announced during the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at 6 p.m. Monday in the Bowman Auditorium on the campus of Ohio University Southern.

“The number of entries is high for the middle school students and about average for the high school students,” Hayley Haugen, OUS English professor and Literature Club adviser, said. “We will let winners know in advance to ensure they are in attendance.”

Haugen said although the students will be notified beforehand, they will not know whether if they will be awarded the $100 first, $50 second or $25 third-place prize.

The contest is sponsored by the Ohio University Southern Council on Diversity and Inclusion and encourages students sixth through 12th grade to honor King by submitting an essay centered on his legacy and memory.

The theme of the essay is, “Words in Stone: Actions in Life — Contemporary Leaders Living the Example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

“The essays reflect on what students have learned about Dr. King at school or through self study,” Robert Pleasant, OUS Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion, said. “The essays explore a living example of a contemporary American leader.

The OUS Literature Club assists Haugen in judging the essays. Comprised of roughly 10 students — most of them English or education majors —the club’s members give their thoughts and opinions about the essays as a piece of an assembled committee.

All essays are typewritten, double-spaced and judged on the student’s knowledge of King’s work in regard to civil rights, relevancy to the contest theme, originality of ideas and clarity of expression, personal perspective, organization, grammar and guidelines.

Additional information is available at

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