The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest Banquet on Tuesday, Jan. 19, recognized area high school students who participated in the contest that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The contest was sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College and the Fairmont State GEAR UP Partnership.
The essay topic was "How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Made a Difference." Cash prizes were awarded for first place ($500); second place ($250); and third place ($150). Swetha Doppalapudi of Morgantown, a 10th-grader at Morgantown High School, took first place. Alexander Biggs of Helvetia, an 11th-grader from Pickens School, won second place. Brandon Beatty of Clarksburg, an 11th-grader at Robert C. Byrd High School, received third place.
"I think this is a great opportunity for all students to learn about the great, late Dr. King," said Michael Belmear, Vice President for Student Affairs. "This contest allows students to go beyond the classroom and create an essay that reflects Dr. King's beliefs."
One of the goals of the contest was to encourage students to read some of King's writings. All students were encouraged to show in their writing that they reflected on one or more of King's speeches or essays. The essays were judged by faculty members of the FSU Department of Language and Literature.
Pictured from left to right are Brandon Beatty, third-place winner; James Biggs, the father of second-place winner Alexander Biggs, who could not attend the banquet; Swetha Doppalapudi, first-place winner; and Michael Belmear, Vice President for Student Affairs at Fairmont State University.