Winning entries from other years

2010 Winners


Martin Luther King, Jr.

Student Poetry Contest


Grades 3 - 5


First Place: Aman Abdirizak- "We Need Peace All Over"

Harriet Bishop Elementary


We need peace all over,
Stop being so mean,
We don’t need you to add the anger,
We need peace all over,
Stop being so hateful,
There’s already a big pile,
We need peace all over,
Stop being such a bully,
Don’t be mean to people for pleasure,
We need peace all over,
So put it to rest,
Let’s just have this world be peaceful.




2nd Place: Jarod Rhudy - "I Have a Dream"

Harriet Bishop Elementary


I have a dream for peace to flow like a stream
For hate to leave and for all to believe
We can live as one, no one must wield a gun
I have a dream for peace to flow like a stream
To turn an enemy to a friend is to turn a break into a mend
I have a dream that everyone will stop and see
Between everyone is equality




3rd Place: Geena Burgess - "Black and White"

Hoover Elementary


What does that mean to you?
Maybe when you see children play on the playground.
Maybe fields where you can run at the speed of a horse.
Or does it remind you of the beautiful color black and white.
To Martin it did.
He took the color black and white and looked at the world
and said why aren’t these colors combined.
I see a huge spot of white,
and the color black.
I see it on me and my friends.
I see it on working people under slavery.
But nor do I see it in fancy restaurants,
Or in the front row of a movie theater.




Grade 6 - 8


First Place: Abryelle Terrill - "Human Rights"

John Adams Middle School


Human rights
are mighty lions
protecting people from crazy danger
in their home and everywhere else
saving people from getting killed
an ugly painful death




Second Place: Emma Pankratz - "He Held My Hand"

John Adams Middle School


My ma says we’re all the same
But I know we’re not
I’m so sick
They wouldn’t give us blankets
They don’t care if we die
Why am I so cold?
They leer at ma and smile at me
But not nice smiles
Ma holds me close
They whip my brother
And spit on my father
We shiver together
Ma lays me down softly
She’s going to beg for warmth
I’m colder already
My body can’t take the work
I’m six years old, dying
And I’m so, so cold
A man kneels next to me
I’m scare until I see the color of his skin
He smiles
And takes my hand
His hand is warm
He pulls me up
And lifts me into the sky
He’s carrying me somewhere safe
I look back
And see my still body
Lying on the barn floor
A smile on my face




Third Place: Jacob Gehrking - "Peace"



Angry words through the air,
Not knowing why they are yelling
Some sticking up for others,
Some tearing people down
Judging colors of people
Some being mean to black
Some being mean to white,
Some saying why can’t we have peace,
Some people kicking and hitting.
But one saying let’s have peace
That name is Martin Luther King, Jr.






Grade 9 - 12


First Place: Joy Harris - "The Dream of Generations"

Century High School


400 Years Ago
Stripped of name, of family, of rights
Captured and sold in the dead of night
Longing burns his beating heart
The sun climbs high, a new day starts
Sweat streaks cross his weathered face
In this land he knows his place
But in his eyes glows a dream
A dream for freedom and equality

145 Years Ago
Freedom comes with bloody battles
Gun fire sparks and cannons rattle
Some battle hard to keep their rights
To preserve the Union others fight
Four long years of endless strife
Slaves set free, a newfound life
No land, no jobs, no civil rights
Codes based on color, no justice or equality

47 Years Ago
With a slandered name and second-class rights
Threatened and harassed in the dead of night
Longing burns his beating heart
The sun climbs high, a new day starts
Aching feet march miles and miles
Sit-ins and boycotts, again he’s reviled
But in his eyes glows a dream
A dream for freedom and equality

This dream has glowed for generations past
Spreading and growing, determined to last
An entire people rose as one
A degrading system was undone
People still hate, there’s violence and bloodshed
But steadily with courage we should look ahead
To a day when all mankind will sing together

“Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are
free at last”



Second Place: April Dennison - "My Heart"

Century High School


Do you hear it?
The heart that was stepped all over
It’s left and it’s still beating
No matter how many people I meet that discriminate against me
It wants to forgive
I know in my head I should hate back
But why is my heart rebelling so?
It’s still yearning to love others
No matter how many times it’s hurt, by the words, by the actions, by the looks, just because of my race
I want to strike back, but it won’t let me
No matter how hard I try, I won’t stop loving
I have to forget in my heart
But it’s all that I have left
Forget, what makes me human
It’s no use. My heart is broken.
It won’t stop beating
I can’t believe in a world without love
Listen to my heartbeat

Can you hear it now?




Third Place: Bridget White - "Liberation"

Century High School


I am not you, and you are not me.
But why must we always contend?
If I hurt you and you hurt me
We’re welcoming our own bitter end.

You’re a Black,
And I’m a White.
But both of us lack
The judgment-free sight.

I’ll look in you, and you look in me.
Perhaps then, we’ll both see.

In you, I see bravery, endurance, and strength.
Your soul has been tortured, and oft it has cried.
It’s broken and torn, yet it has not died.
In me, you see hatred, cruelty, and might.
My soul is lost—overtaken by pride.
Yet together our souls will forever abide.

You scream into the night, begging, “How can this be—
That I am enslaved, while he is yet free?”
That night, I watched you through Liberty’s veil.
I must reach for your hand, or this nation will fail.

Though I am not you, and you are not me,
Here we are—hand in hand.
Together we’ll walk for an eternity or more
Across Freedom and Unity’s Land.