A HAPPY MOMENT—From left: Dr. Linda Lane, superintendent Pittsburgh Public Schools; David Wise, Pittsburgh University Prep, Grade 9 Essay Winner, and Beth Lackner, asst. vice president-Public Affairs Citzens Bank.
Citizens Bank hosted its 12th Annual Expressions of Freedom Writing Contest Awards Ceremony at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Downtown. The ceremony recognized 45 students from kindergarten through 12th grade who wrote winning essays about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The “Expressions of Freedom” writing contest was open to Pittsburgh Public School students and was created by Citizens Bank to honor Dr. King’s efforts to promote peaceful interaction among people of different backgrounds at a time when racial inequality was widespread across the United States. The program has grown to include media partners New Pittsburgh Courier, KISS and WPXI-TV.
Contestants were asked to write an essay describing how one of Dr. King’s character traits inspired them and how they applied it to their daily lives. A panel of judges at Citizens Bank chose the winning 45 essays out of more than 1,000 that were submitted. Winners will record their essays with KISS or WPXI and the stations will broadcast portions of the essays throughout February in honor of Black History Month. Contest winners also receive a family membership to the August Wilson Center, a gift card, and a poster featuring part of their essay.
Christian Carter, a seventh-grader from Barack Obama Academy of International Studies wrote, “Don’t judge others, but see the good they have. Let us unite as a nation to love one another.” Fourth-grader Tilee Romir Miller, a student at Morrow School, shared this sentiment: “It can be you to change this world. Then we can be together as one!”
“This essay contest was a great opportunity for students to express themselves and to share their knowledge of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “We were impressed at how thoughtful these young students were at illustrating how Dr. King’s messages of hope and peace inspired them and we look forward to their work being showcased by our media partners next month.”