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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
January 11, 2006

The Dream Never Dies: Carnegie Mellon Honors Student Winners of Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards

PITTSBURGH—The winners of the seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Writing Awards at Carnegie Mellon University will honor the vision and sacrifice of the slain civil rights leader when they read their work as part of the university's Martin Luther King Day celebration at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in Rangos Hall in the University Center.

Students from Carnegie Mellon and several Pittsburgh-area high schools submitted essays or poetry reflecting on the role race has played in their lives. Awards were given in two categories: prose (fiction and nonfiction) and poetry, and winners received cash prizes.

The writing awards ceremony follows Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon's annual state of diversity address, and is one of the highlights of the university's celebration of King's life. The awards are organized by the university's Creative Writing Program, which is part of the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

A list of winners follows.

High School Poetry

First Place

  • "Eye to Eye," Emily Nagan, Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)
  • "77D," Duncan Richer, CAPA
Second Place
  • "What Happened," Rachel Jardini, CAPA
Honorable Mention
  • "Back Then With My Faith," Vaughan Stephenson, CAPA
  • "White Lady Greens," Justin Platek, CAPA
  • "My Brother's Keeper," Sade Turner, Westinghouse High School
High School Prose

First Place

  • "The New South: Small Town America," Michael D'Emilio, Winchester Thurston Academy
  • "White Coat," Gretchen Gally, CAPA
Second Place
  • "Dancing Around Color: A Story about Mixed Perceptions," Lindsay Machen, Winchester Thurston
Third Place
  • "My Half-World," Sonya Narla, Winchester Thurston
  • "The Fight between African-Americans and Africans," Michael Babatunde, Winchester Thurston
Honorable Mention
  • "Biracial Girl," Elizabeth Davis, Perry Traditional Academy
  • "No Child is Born a Racist," Ashleigh Parker, Winchester Thurston
Carnegie Mellon Poetry

First Place

  • "Winter Fable," Sally Mao
Second Place
  • "Africa Needs Us," Lillian Bertram
  • "Dear Dad/Sperm Donor," Rebecca Bortman
Third Place
  • "Martin is Untied From a Whipping Post in the Heat of Slavery," Chris Davis
  • "Grocery Shopping," Ben Pelhan
Carnegie Mellon Prose

First Place

  • "One Person Wonder," Ashley Birt
Second Place
  • Untitled essay, Isabel Gardocki


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