Mediate said the passion with which Hall and Pilarski wrote their essays spoke to the judges of the contest.
“The winning essays were passionately written and really spoke to how MLK’s legacy can be lived out today and how important his commitment to nonviolence was, especially in light of everything going on in the world today,” Mediate said.
“We felt this was a great way to connect with a historical figure that young people often learn about, but may not be given the opportunity to apply to their own life,” she continued. “Plus, the work started by MLK remains unfinished in our country and it is important for young people to become the next generation of change makers.”
The parents of both girls are proud that they entered and won the contest.
“I’m so very proud of her,” said Dyonna’s mother, Natasha. “I don’t think I could have asked for anything else in a daughter. I thought she did a very good job of going by the guidelines of the contest and explaining how she would be able to carry on the legacy of Dr. King.”
David and Colleen Pilarski agreed with Hall.
“I think this is fantastic. She is a good writer and I am excited to see her getting awards for it,” said Ruthanne’s father, David Pilarski. “I found her insight to be remarkably mature for a 12-year-old young lady. Perhaps if more adults followed her simple philosophy, the world would truly be a better place.”