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Saint Mary’s College hosts Peace Project Contest

Anna Boarini | Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saint Mary’s College hosted the Peace Project Contest as the final installment in a series of events held this week in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Students submitted poems, artwork and speeches dedicated to the messages left by the Civil Rights leader.

Tamara Taylor, assistant director of Student Involvement and Multicultural Services, said the project was a way for students to use their creativity to celebrate the life of Dr. King and his dream for peace.

“Traditionally, ‘Celebrate Martin Luther King’ has only been one day and it has traditionally been the day we get back,” she said. “It has gotten lost in the shuffle, so we decided, ‘Why not do a week?'”

Jacquitta Martin, president of the Sisters of Nefertiti, said the sisters helped plan and execute the event.

“This contest started out as an oratorical contest. Then sisters asked why limit to just speech when we can open it up to allow students to be more creative,” she said.

The 10 entries in the contest ranged from original poetry to a short film.

Junior Elizabeth Elsbach won the top prize, a spa package from J. Ross Salon and Spa, for her poem.

“I decided to write a poem because when you are expressing something as intangible as peace, you have to use something intangible like poetry to reach out and stir up the desire to reach a common goal,” she said.

First year Asha Gilmore took second prize with her original film. The film originally began as a project for a social work class, she said.

“It was a project where we compared and contrasted three different writers: Sister Madaleva, Mary Jane Adams and Martin Luther King, Jr.,” she said. “I decided I wanted to use song and intensity in the animations to make the project more memorable.”

Junior Lizzy Schroff finished in third place for her poem.

“I write a lot of poetry, and I like poetry because I like to express things through a new perspective and grab people’s attention with vivid imagery, and [allow them] to see things in a new light,” she said.

Vice President of Student Affairs Karen Johnson served on a panel of judges and helped choose the winner of the contest.

“I was amazed by how excellent everything was, and it should be shared with the community,” she said.

Elaine Meyer-Lee, the director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership, also served as a judge.

“I think it is really great that so many students came out and created something with so much substance,” she said. “It was a meaningful event that is worthy of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.”