Eighth grader Mya Reed from Merrillville Community School Corporation's Clifford Pierce Middle School placed first in the sixth through eighth grade group of the 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest. She won $500!
The competition was sponsored by the Indiana Association of School Principals and Ball State University.
“It is no surprise Mya's essay stood out from the rest,” said Pierce U.S. History Teacher Heather Walker. “She is a shining star that brings light and positivity to our world, overshadowing any darkness that might stand in her way.”
Ms. Walker said Reed is an outstanding student and leader for her peers; she is currently the president of the school's student council.
"Her wisdom supersedes her years, and her kindness will leave a lasting effect for years to come," Ms. Walker added.
“Mya is a true treasure! I would be hard pressed to find one adult in this building that doesn't know Mya by name,” Pierce Principal Lafonda Morris added. “Mya is quick to think outside the box and never allows any grass to grow under her feet.”
Students were asked to write a 500-word essay based on the MLK quote “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
Pierce Eighth Grade English Teacher Patrice Weil talked about Reed’s work, “The essay was titled ‘A Descending Spiral of Destruction’ and the first line of the essay is particularly powerful; it reads, ‘Just as all threads of a tapestry are imperative or every hue on a canvas is crucial, we are all equally important to the beauty and progression of the masterpiece called history.’”
Faculty members from Ball State University evaluated more than 220 essay submissions from students across the state in grades six through 12.