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2019 essay winners

Pictured are the 2019 Essay Contest Winners with the Honorable Judge Vance Raye and Honorable Judge George Nicholson.

Congratulations to the 2019 MLK Essay Contest Winners.

We are very pleased to announce the winners of the 6th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest in conjunction with the MLK Celebration event. The essay contest was created to further engage our youth with Dr. King's legacy, his vision, and leadership that inspired a nation.  The 2019 MLK Essay Contest Theme: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a strong supporter of mentoring others. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, who has inspired and served as a mentor to you. What have you learned from your experience?

High School

Jennifer Olivares,Foothill Senior High - 1st Place
Luiz Cruz, - Rosemont High School
Michael Molden, Rosemont High School - 3rd Place
Kayle Melicher, Geoge Washington Carver - 3rd Place

Middle School
Yakan Jackson, Natomas Middle School - 1st Place
Whitney Fagapuleia, Rio Tierra Junior High - 2nd Place
Rocio Perez, Mitchell Middle School - 3rd Place

Honorable Mention: Alejandro Hernandez, Emma Foell, Hilda Yazmin Torres - All students from Rosemont High School

High School Division
Jennifer Olivares, 1st Place High School Division

When I think of Dr. MLK Jr., I visualize an extraordinary man who believed mentoring to be an exceptionally constructive practice that people could greatly benefit from. In my personal opinion, mentors are wonderful people who happen to be all around us, even where we least expect them.

Since I am the oldest of my siblings, I have to figure things out on my own and be proactive. Nevertheless, I consider myself to be tremendously blessed to have the most amazing mentor in the world. My mentor is my 12-year-old sister, Briseyda, and, although it may seem surprising, she is a valuable mentor in my life.

Generally speaking, most people are fortunate to have professional adults as their mentors, yet my little sister has a great deal to offer as well. Although she may not know much about college, she sincerely cares about my well being and desires that I have a prosperous future. The support and encouragement that she provides are truly meaningful. Thus, a mentor’s responsibility is not only to guide and give advice but also to demonstrate they want the best for you.

Furthermore, I have learned plenty through my experience with my unconditional mentor who inspires me to keep moving forward. Briseyda is proud of my accomplishments, which motivates me to strive harder and challenge myself to do the best I can in school. Because she is an avid reader, her writing skills are strong, making her well capacitated to proofread my essays. Not only that, but when I have a speech coming up, Briseyda allows me to practice with her and gives me constructive criticism. Most importantly, she does all this for me not because of obligation or kindness but because of her self-giving personality that demonstrates her profound commitment to being my magnificent mentor.

Luiz Cruz, 2nd Place, High School Division

My greatest inspiration along my lifetime has been my mother . My mother has guided me through lessons and has mentored me preparing me to see and go out into the real world outside of home. I grew up in Mexico with both my parents with my younger sister and my older brother. We met real hardships there and we at first were very unfit coming from America where things were very different and calm. We spent 6 years of our childhood in Mexico and our daily routine would always consist of the same pattern whether we had school or not . We had to wake up at exactly 6 in the morning to go to the grass fields and feed our sheep and come back home at 8 to get ready for school. My mother was always there to make sure we had something ready to eat, always was there pushing me to my limit whether it was a hard task or not in school or in the field . She was very strict , she wasn’t exactly the person you’d want to joke around with and
she said it all with a look , but her somewhat kind words always stayed with me “ always pursue your dreams “ she mentored us in a very strict and physical way , it is not until this day that I understand what all her anger and strictness was for , it was simply for us and for our own good to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Martin Luther King mentored people very directly and in a language they could understand.

Michael Molden, 3rd Place High School Division - Tie

Dr. Martin Luther King was a Civil Rights leader and one of the greatest activist to ever grace the Earth. His non-violent approach to ending segregation and inequality changed the course of history and also the lives of my brothers and and sisters all around the world. MLK was a great leader and mentor, but someone who is also a great mentor is my father Robert Molden. My sister and I were adopted at a very young age, I was 3 the last time saw my mother. Two years later my new mother and father adopted me us and raised us like their own, we’ve been living with them for almost 13 years. My dad has also given me great advice on being a black man in today’s society and we talk about life after college, making the right decisions, and what the future hold for me. I may not always listen to him, but i’m really glad that he’s in my life and that he continues to never give up on me and have faith in me no matter how many mistakes that I make. Since I was little my dad was always trying to make me a successful person and he always tries to uplift me and teach me the difference between right and wrong, I may not have listened then but I am now because I realized that he is just looking out for me and he just wants what’s best for me. In conclusion I am glad that I have such a positive and powerful influence in my life, without my father’s I would be lost, therefore I thank GOD everyday that I was lucky enough to be adopted by my father.

Kayle Melicher, 3rd Place High School Division - Tie

A person who is my mentor and has inspired me is Emily Ingram. Emily Ingram is amazing she is the kind of mentor that you find once in a lifetime. She has helped me through so much. She has helped me in school and through just everyday life. She has made me grow so much as a person in so many ways. She has taught me how to prepare for jobs and how to go out and live in the real world. With Emily I feel like I can talk and tell her anything. Which she taught me how to open up to people a little more.
And she taught me to always follow my heart and to do what is right for me. She taught me that yeah being in the real world is a lot of hard work but with people who believe in you and if you believe in yourself you can achieve anything you put your mind to. She changed my life and made me smile again. When I am around her I know who I want to be, and I actually feel happy and feel like I belong. She helped me realize that I wanted to be a resource specialist teacher. Just like she was, that’s how we met. Everyday I am so thankful to have her in my life and that she is my mentor. Emily is so sweet and I want to be just like her. I love her so much she is a kinda person that you went to make as many memories with as possible. She is irreplaceable, there is no one like her

Middle School
Yakan Jackson, 1st Place Middle School Division

As  Martin  luther king jr  was a supporter  to mentoring others, I  think a person who has inspired  me and served me as a mentor is my dad. I chose my dad because over the years I learned a lot of things from him and I most likely wouldn't have the knowledge to become the  young man that I am today without him. Another reason I chose my dad as my mentor because of how he has helped me clear my mind to find my true passion in life. Before I didn’t know whether I wanted to become a youtuber, gamer, entrepreneur, or boxer. My dad came in and helped me recognize what my true passion was for music at first I wanted to become a rapper but later he helped me learn that I was destined to become a DJ or producer. Another reason my dad has served as a mentor to me is that he teaches me how to defend myself and he supports me and my ideas whether or not we both agree to it. Another reason is that he has taught me about a lot of things and gave me some more knowledge to assist me in becoming who i want to be and if I do go in the wrong direction he always help me go back on to the right track and he is a role model for me because of what he has endured and how he can make the hard decisions he makes and that when times are hard he never complains about and he never talks negative about other problems he always recognizes that problem and always works to find a solution to it. The main reason I chose my dad for this was because of his determination and motivation.

Whitney Fagapuleia, 2nd Place Middle School Division

The person who inspired me the most was my parents. My parent helps me when I need help. My mom and dad said that they will always be there for me. My parents told me to be a leader but not a follower. My parent told me to be positive, so I do what they tell me to. My parents told me also to never give up on myself and to help others. My parents told me not to be rude to teachers when they are talking. Also my parents told me to have fun and don’t be bad. Also my mom and dad taught me to believe in myself. And also my parents told me to not do nothing bad at school. My parents also told me to be a good person and not to be a bad person. My parents also told me to do all my work in class and homework. My parents also told me to help others if they need help. My parents also told me to work together as a team. That’s all what my parents have taught me through the years for growing up.

Rocio Perez, 3rd Place Middle School Division

Who was Martin Luther King Jr? He was a social activist and a baptist who played a major role for everyone and changed the world. He was born in January 15, 1929. He passed away April 4th, 1968. His story is one of history's most common one of all. MLK was an inspirational role model for everyone, including me. Just as he had a dream, i have one too. My dream is that people would dream to be more successful. I have a dream where people shall no longer suffer from hunger, rob nor kill each other because we have no sense of ourselves. I have a dream where both male and female learn to respect and have the same equal rights. I have a dream of racial freedom. We are all humans and should be treated the same way. Who has inspired and served as a mentor to me? I would say most of my teachers and all fighters who have been through & fought strong for difficult moments in their lives. MLK brought freedom, peace, and unity to everyone. A couple weeks ago, a part of our school, including i went up to a small school in Butte County in Chico to help, play with, have fun and support the children, teachers, and other humans who might have lost their home from the recent fire. It was one of the best experiences I have experienced. The feeling to give, listen and share with children who had their stories to tell us, our school there to help and support, to bring peace and have different people unite. This is something Martin Luther King wanted to achieve throughout the world. I learned alot from this small trip and experience. I learned what it felt like to have the dream of people bring peace within each other, and where everyone is treated with kindness and respect. This made me realize what Martin Luther King meant by bringing unity with everyone and the type of kindness we’d all want. He was an outstanding man and such an inspiration to many people.

Essay Contest Sponsored By

Alcalay Communications
Governors Inn Hotel
Sacramento County Office of Education