By Ashley Chambers
At this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest, Zelana Smith, Micaela Clark, and Thomas Logwood from Castlemont High School demonstrated the power of young voices winning the 2013 “Write to Live” essay contest.
Begun in 2011, the contest is based on the book “Write to Live, Telling Our Stories,” authored by students of Leadership Preparatory High at Castlemont with the help of English teacher Marsha Rhynes.
The book includes a foreword by author and poet Maya Angelou and an endorsement from her son Guy Johnson.
Students were asked to write a personal, analytical essay in response to a quote published in the book
“We must acknowledge that literacy is a need, not a want, and literacy is essential for the growth of self-empowerment of an individual as well as a community, and the world at large,” wrote Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson, who volunteered as a judge in the contest.
Smith won third place; Clark won second place; and Logwood won first place. They each read their essays at the Oratorical Fest speaking on the value of literacy to the advancement of society.
“I’m really proud of the students for accepting this challenge because it involved writing 1500 words, meeting a deadline when seniors have several deadlines, and it gave them an opportunity for other people to hear their voices,” said Rhynes, who teaches Micaela and Zelana in her AP English class.