Martin Luther King Essay and Poetry Contest

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By Jocelyn Gallardo

January 16 was Reverent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s (MLK) 88th birthday. In celebration of everything that he has done, the MLK Essay and Poetry Contest is held every year at the Arlington Theater in Downtown Santa Barbara.

Each school ranging from Goleta to Carpinteria had the opportunity to sign up for the competition and submit either an essay or poem revolving around the theme that is chosen. This year’s theme was “I choose to stick with love”, a quote by Dr. King. Among the winners were students from Roosevelt Elementary School, Montessori Center School, Goleta Valley Junior High, Dos Pueblos High School, Carpinteria High School, and Santa Barbara High School.

The audience was full of parents reporters, photographers, and politicians including Salud Carbajal, Hannah Beth Jackson, and Monique Limon. Two gave a speech before the prizes were awarded to the winners. Also in the audience was Santa Barbara’s poet laureate, Sojourner Kincaid Rolle. She presented all of the awards and prizes to the contest winners.

Throughout the event they also played a video in segments that highlighted the events that took place in Selma during the time that Dr. King sparked a protest. One was able to see the influence that Dr. King had on his people and how his legacy is still celebrated and embraced today. In between, they presented the winners with their prizes which varied depending on whether or not they won first, second,  or third place.

The last segment that took place was dance performed by Santa Barbara Dance Institute. A group of about 15 students came out on stage a performed a series of dances that were upbeat, fun, and entertaining.

All in all, it was a very nice event in celebration and remembrance of what Reverent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did to change our history and country as a whole.

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