Theme: Making a Difference

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader of the African-American Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. He used the power of words and acts of nonviolence to make a difference in the lives of others and helped to secure equal rights for African Americans.

In his writings and speeches, Dr. King dreamed of an America with equality of opportunity, a “place where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity” (The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness, 1960).


We can all do our part in making our school, community, and beyond more inclusive places where people of all backgrounds feel welcome and are treated fairly. Consider how you can make a difference in the lives of others to support the inclusion of all people.  Make references to Dr. King and other historical figures who have worked to make a difference in the lives of others in their community.

Who May Apply? 

All students in grades K-5 in the Melrose Public Schools are eligible to participate in the essay contest.


  • Participants must be enrolled in a Melrose Public Schools.
  • Entries must be 300 words or less on standard 8-1/2” x 11” white paper with 1” margins, double spaced, and in no creative font (Arial and or/New Times Roman are recommended).
  • Entries can be handwritten but must be legible.
  • Videos and films will not be accepted. Drawings related to the essay can be included.

All writing entries will be judged on the criteria listed in the Melrose Public Schools Rubric for each grade for informational writing: focus or explanation, organization, and conventions.


Each winner will be honored at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr, dinner in January.


Across all of the schools, five entries will be selected for each of the following categories for the elementary grades: in grades K-1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. One final winning entry will be selected to represent the elementary grades.


Entries must be received by Monday, December 19th by the school principal.

How to Submit Entries:

Students and teachers can submit entries to their school principal.

Information to include with entries:

  • Student’s name, address, phone number, and grade level
  • School name
  • Teacher’s name

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2015 Essay Content

Student’s Name:         ____________________________________________________________

Address:                      ____________________________________________________________

Phone Number:          ____________________________________________________________

School Name:             ____________________________________________________________

Teacher’s Name:        ____________________________________________________________

Grade:                         ____________________________________________________________


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