Gerard Community Mental Health Services

Celebrating Black History Month
Gerard Academy’s New Dominion School Participates in MLK Essay Contest

In celebration of Black History Month, the elementary students from New Dominion School participated in the Hormel African American Resource Group’s (HAARG) sixth annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest. This year’s contest focused on “What Dr. Martin Luther King Means to Me,” which set the theme for each student’s essay. New Dominion School is one of 20 schools to participate nationwide.

New Dominion School Administrator Danielle Theis says, “I am so grateful that New Dominion School students were chosen to participate in this contest! They worked hard on their essays and were very proud of the result.”

On February 2, Harold Burden, Manager of Demand Planning at Hormel Foods and HAARG Communications Officer, along with colleagues Alvin Dent and Robert Magambo, visited New Dominion to hand out awards and listen to each winner read their essay.

Burden says the purpose of the program is threefold: “Our ultimate goals of this event are to promote Martin Luther King’s Legacy, encourage young kids to aim high and give them exposure to minority professionals in corporate America, and to create a lasting partnership between Hormel Foods and schools for future mentoring and support opportunities.”

The student with the winning essay received a $50 gift card and a framed certificate. Four runner-up students were also awarded certificates and $25 gift cards, and the entire class received a celebratory pizza party. New Dominion School was also presented with a Staples gift card for new school supplies.

“New Dominion School students do not always have ‘traditional’ heroes in their lives,” says Theis. “It is important for them to learn about heroes who have worked and sacrificed to protect and celebrate the diversity that enriches our lives and our country. Their essays reflected their acknowledgement of Martin Luther King’s courage, and their gratefulness for his contributions.”

Hormel’s African American Resource Group and Cargill’s Ebony Council (CEC) have worked together over the past several years to sponsor schools for the MLK Essay Contest. Cargill’s CEC provided the awards that the kids received this year.

Excerpts from the winning essays:

“Martin Luther King Jr. is a good man because he helped get black people equal rights in the United States of America. He is a pioneer in the black community.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. was a good example for all people to follow. He was a really good role model. He promoted non-violent actions. He was a good role model for peace. He did good things when he was told he couldn’t and kept being positive even when bad things happened.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. did amazing things for the black people. He told his friends not to fight with violence. When they bombed his house he was able to forgive the people who bombed his house. He is a big inspiration to me and my friends.”

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