Marymount Students Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Essay and Poetry Contest

Marymount Students Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Essay and Poetry Contest title=
MLK illustration by Marymount alum, Hope Eiler Figgins
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By Rebecca Horrigan

Living out Dr. King’s message of speaking up for one’s ideals, Marymount students from 4th through 7th grades wrote powerful pieces honoring the civil rights leader’s legacy. The contest was organized by the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League’s, No Place for Hate initiative. Students from Summerland to Santa Ynez, ages 6-18, were invited to submit their thoughts on the theme of speaking up for what’s right or on any aspect of Dr. King’s life.

When Marymount teacher Kari Eiler found out about the contest, she knew it would be a perfect activity for her 4th and 5th grade Kaleidoscope classes. Marymount’s Kaleidoscope program gives students the opportunity to experience and study the culture, history, and values of World Religions through a global and unifying perspective.

“Developing an impassioned curiosity for the world is a key tenant of Kaleidoscope World Religions at Marymount,” Eiler said. “Giving students an opportunity to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr.’s life as well as to share their feelings about the state of racial justice in our world was a win-win prospect.”

Eiler’s colleagues who teach the 6th and 7th grade Kaleidoscope courses of Service Learning and Ethics eagerly engaged their students with the prompt as well. Students embraced the challenge and produced a wide range of inspiring pieces.

“My hope for every student is self-efficacy; I want them to believe in the power of their convictions as well as possess the self confidence and skills necessary to make the world a more fair, kind, and peaceful place,” Eiler said.

Winners were announced in December. Fourth grade student, Lillian Richardson won 3rd prize for her 6-12 age bracket. Alex Peace won second place in the 13-18 age bracket, and Ember Reiter won an honorable mention in that age bracket as well. Eighth grade student Ravi Pandya was named as a runner-up. All students learned a valuable lesson in writing from the heart. 

“Believing in oneself and looking for ways to create changes (for self and/or world) are mutually dependent constructs,” Eiler said. “Kaleidoscope offers a portal for students, as well as teachers, to contemplate their place in the world.”

First place winners will read their entries during Santa Barbara’s Martin Luther King Day Weekend of Events, starting January 18, 2021. For more information visit: www.mlksb.org

At Marymount, we provide student-centered, individualized learning in a joyful and nurturing community, inspiring academic excellence and valuing difference. The educational vision for each Marymount graduate is to empower individual potential, inspire purpose beyond self, and cultivate social responsibility as they prepare for high school and beyond.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 805-569-1811 ext. 131.

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