City of Harrisburg
King City Government Center
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1678
Telephone: 255.3040

19 January 2003


Harrisburg, PA—Mayor Stephen R. Reed today announced the winners of the City’s Nineteenth Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Competition. The successful young authors were recognized at a special ceremony in their honor at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. City Government Center, the only government headquarters in the world to be named after the heroic civil rights leader. It was so named by an Executive Order issued by Mayor Reed.

First begun by the Mayor in 1985, the annual competition has drawn more than 4,000 voluntary entries over the past nineteen years. Participating students from grades seven through twelve were asked to write about a pre-selected topic relative to the teachings of Dr. King and how they relate to the world today. The topic for this year was:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has left a lasting impression on society. What impacts and contributions to society will you seek to make as a United States citizen to continue Dr. King’s dream?

Joining the city as a cosponsor of the 2003 Essay Competition is Pinnacle Health System, with additional support and prizes provided by First Union Bank, Pizza Hut, and the Coca Cola Company. Winning entries receive a commemorative plaque from the city and Pinnacle Health System along with a $250 U.S Savings Bond for 1st Place, $150 for 2nd Place, and $100 for 3rd Place from First Union Bank, and dinner gift certificates to participating local Pizza Hut Restaurants.

Reed said the annual literary exercise is judged by an independent panel of judges who review the hundreds of entries to determine the top three winners in each grade. Judges for this year’s competition included City Councilman and Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Eric Waters, Vera Cornish of Cornish Associates, and Marlene Sparrow of First Union Bank.

“The efforts of these young people represent the perpetuation of the ideals of equality and justice for which Dr. King stood and for which he died,” said Mayor Reed. “These ideals are especially relevant as we and the world confront the evils of intolerance and terrorism.

“Our appreciation is extended to all of our cosponsors, judges and educators who helped make this Competition a reality, and we applaud all of the young authors who submitted entries for judging. Each is a winner in our eyes.”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Competition is coordinated by the Mayor’s Office and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. A complete list of the 2003 Essay Competition winners, and their essays (PDF), follows:

Grade 7

3rd Place - Casey Matteo/Holy Family School
2nd Place - Tim Pianka/St. Margaret Mary School
1st Place - Jessicah Thornton/Riverside

Grade 8

3rd Place - Olivia Perry/St. Catherine Laboure School
2nd Place - Aleisha Howarth/Holy Family School
1st Place - Katelyn Golda/St. Catherine Laboure School

Grade 9

3rd Place - Joseph Bilde/Bishop McDevitt High School
2nd Place - Nicole Viglietta/Bishop McDevitt High School
1st Place - Andrew Ponti/Bishop McDevitt High School

Grade 10

3rd Place - Janine Hair/Bishop McDevitt High School
2nd Place - Redeate Dessalegn/Bishop McDevitt High School
1st Place - Catherine Cramer/Bishop McDevitt High School

Grade 11

3rd Place - Talond Luckette/Harrisburg High School
2nd Place - Justin Seeger/Harrisburg High School
1st Place - Chester Stoney/Harrisburg High School

Grade 12

3rd Place - Meghan Howe/Bishop McDevitt High School
2nd Place - Brian A. Biery/Bishop McDevitt High School
1st Place - Bill Vargo, Jr./Bishop McDevitt High School


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