Lake Washington Girls Middle School Students Sweep The King County Civil Rights Commission 
14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest

The King County Civil Rights Commission 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest, open to all eighth grade students attending public and private schools in King County, has been swept by Lake Washington Girls Middle School students– LWGMS students won first, second, and third places.The purpose of the essay contest is to encourage middle and junior high school students to think critically about Dr. King's legacy of peace and justice.

This year's essay contest theme was: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." On November 20, 2012, every member of the Lake Washington Girls Middle School Class of 2013 submitted essays to the commission, and on December 28, 2012, three of our students received word that they had won the top three awards for their work.

Since Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s opening in 1998, the topics of social justice and diversity have been intentional, welcomed, and fostered in the classroom. With a humanities curriculum molded around human rights, social movements, and activism among different minority groups, our girls are taught not to shy away from difficult topics and conversations. Instead, with the help of our faculty, they engage in these dialogs with compassion, intelligence, and open minds. 

Patricia Hearn, first teacher and founding Head of School at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, has had the eighth grade students draw from their experiences in life and studies in the classroom and participate in the essay contest since 2005. "This contest is unique in that it doesn't ask the usual questions about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy," she said. "Rather, the CRC contest asks our students to reflect on encounters with diversity and injustice in their own lives, and this, we find, is much more challenging work. The writing that emerges from this work is grounded in the girls' life experiences, truth, and emotion.” In these nine years of entries, Lake Washington Girls Middle School students have won one, two, and now three of the awards in seven cycles. 2013 is the first year the contest has been swept by Lake Washington Girls Middle School eighth graders. Quinn won first place, Chloe won second place, and Ada, third.

The King County Civil Rights Commission Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest Awards will be formally presented at the 26th Annual King County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration ceremony on Thursday, January 17, 2013, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at The 5th Avenue Theater, 1308 5th Avenue, in downtown Seattle. This event is free and open to the public. Speakers at the celebration include keynote speaker King County Executive Dow Constantine and County Council Chair Larry Gossett. The celebration will include musical performances by The Sound of the Northwest, and opera soloist Cheryse McLeod Lewis, and the MLK Employee Singers. The Lake Washington Girls Middle School community will be there to cheer on Quinn, Chloe, and Ada. We are so proud of them.

Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest winners:

2013
Theme: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
First prize winner: Quinn
Second prize winner: Chloe
Third prize winner: Ada 

2012
Theme: Life’s most persistent and urgent question: ‘What are you doing for others?’
Third prize winner: Maggie

2011
Theme: We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For
Second prize winner: Elly 

2010
Theme: The Dream Marches On
First prize winner: Sofia 

2009
Theme: Breaking Barriers   
First prize winner: Jaida 

2008
Theme: The Beloved Community
Second prize winner: Patricia 
Third prize winner: Audre

2005
Theme: United for the Common Good
First prize winner: Lena 
Second prize winner: Maya