Concord Announces Winners of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 19 2004

Concord Announces Winners of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest

Athens, W. Va. – On December 11, 2003, 26 Concord College students participated in an extemporaneous writing competition held in honor of the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In December, invitations were also extended to students attending area primary, secondary and high schools inviting them to submit essays on various topics associated with the legacy of Dr. King.

At 7 p.m., Monday, January 19, the results of the essay contests were announced at a special ceremony honoring the civil rights leader. A panel of Concord faculty members and community leaders evaluated the student’s essays. Certificates of appreciation were prepared for all the essayists to commemorate the role played by each in honoring the memory of Dr. King.

Keynote speaker, Shindana Cooper, described Dr. King as an “ordinary man who did extraordinary things.” She shared childhood memories of meeting Dr. King, who was her father’s close friend. Ms. Cooper is a writer and speaker from Baltimore, Maryland.

In answer to, “To what extent does Dr. King’s dream remain unfulfilled?”--Concord student and honorable-mention recipient Choskie Harmon from Princeton, West Virginia, wrote: “Since blacks are allowed in restaurants now, Americans may think that discrimination is gone. Yet, the American people are seriously wrong. After 9/11 many Muslim mosques were vandalized; Muslims were harassed and assaulted also. If this is not considered discrimination, what is?

“Dr. King would not stand by and watch his dream of a nation where all men are created equal be destroyed. Through Dr. King’s teachings, he would have wanted Muslims and Irish Catholics, Mexicans and Jews, and Native Americans and Japanese people to walk hand in hand together.

“Dr. King would continue preaching in his melodic voice, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last!' until his dream of equality for all people had been achieved.”

Winners were as follows:

CONCORD COLLEGE DIVISION: First Prize Winner of $1,000 Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship--Alyesha Asghar, Karnataka, India; Second Place Winner of $500 Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship--Kama Weatherholt, Marlinton, WV; First Runner-Up--Jillian Jones, Cool Ridge, WV; Second Runner-Up--Stephen Hill, Belle, WV; Third Runners-Up (tied)--Ashley Bell, Bridgeport, WV; Susan Brandon-Guthrie, Beallsville, OH; Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order)--Melissa Farmer, Princeton, WV; Choskie Harmon, Princeton, WV; Toyin Johnson, Lagos, Nigeria; Rikki McCormick, St. Albans, WV; Krasimira Shapkarova, Plovdiv, Bulgaria; and Sudeep Simkhada, Kathmandu, Nepal

First place winners in the following categories received a savings bond and gift certificate.

HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION: First Place--Graham Floyd, MSU Academy;

Second Place--Kelly Keaton, PikeView High School

MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION: First Place--Shawn Grose, Spanishburg School; Second Place--Dustin Farley, Spanishburg School

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DIVISION: First Place--Ashley Weiss, Jumping Branch Elementary; Second Place--Tyler Farley, Spanishburg School

This contest was sponsored by a grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

For more information, contact Director of Multicultural Affairs, Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or