New, young voices share their dreams at MLK event

Charlize Weiss has a dream.

“A dream of mine is changing the nation by kindness, giving hope to others just by being kind,” said Charlize, a seventh-grader at Lynnwood’s College Place Middle School.

Mia Zirkle has a dream.

“I’d like to remind people that they’re as good as anyone,” said Mia, who is in fourth grade at Mukilteo Elementary School. “And I want my world not to judge people who are different,” Mia said.

Cody Farhrenkopf has a dream.

“My dream for the world is that countries will put aside all the hate,” said Cody, a fourth-grader at Discovery Elementary School in the Mukilteo district.

These students and others shared dreams for themselves, their communities and the world during a Prodigies for Peace Essay and Art Contest awards ceremony Wednesday at Everett’s Carl Gipson Senior Center.

Part of a Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration, the annual event is sponsored by the city of Everett, Snohomish County, United Way of Snohomish County and the YMCA of Snohomish County.

Winners for essays and artwork in elementary, middle school and high school categories were recognized at the reception that brought together proud parents, teachers and local leaders.

“We contact every school in the county,” said Beth Lucas, a volunteer organizer of the contest for a decade. There were 345 entries this year, said Lucas, whose husband, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas, spoke to the students about King.

“Never, never forget that Dr. King was a real person with real problems,” the judge said. He added that King’s life offers an incredible example of what one person can achieve.

Judge Lucas told a story about a boy named Michael, who grew up in the South. On a two-hour bus ride with his teacher to an essay contest, Michael had to give up his seat when white passengers got on the bus, Lucas said. “Michael’s name was later changed to Martin,” Lucas said, sharing that King “was an essay contest winner like you guys.”

Students read their winning pieces before an audience that included County Executive John Lovick, Everett School District Superintendent Gary Cohn and Dennis Smith, CEO of United Way of Snohomish County.

Lovick recalled his childhood in segregated Louisiana, where his home had no electricity. He said he “would not be here today” without the sacrifices of King and others who pushed for racial equality through nonviolent means. “His ability to forgive resonated with me,” Lovick said.

With presenter Kay Barnes, of the city of Everett’s human resources department, local officials shared their thoughts about King, whose “I Have a Dream” speech marked its 50th anniversary in August. The civil rights leader was assassinated April 4, 1968.

“That speech impacted me,” said Barnes, who remembered hearing King’s words as a 9-year-old. Barnes grew up to serve in the U.S. Navy before working in city government.

The 50th anniversary of the speech brought King’s soaring language and enduring message of equal opportunity “to the fore,” Beth Lucas said. Through the essays, new voices interpret the civil rights leader’s words for today’s world.

“It’s our way of keeping the dream alive,” Beth Lucas said.

A nuanced essay by Sophia Maggio, an Everett High School sophomore, won the top prize in the high school category. She wrote that 50 years after King’s “I Have a Dream” speech she hears insults some teens hurl at others because of racial differences or sexual orientation.

“People may claim to know all about Martin Luther King and praise him for his work in the civil rights movement, but his work has no meaning — no impact — if the fruits of his labor aren’t reflected in our everyday lives,” she wrote.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

Essay winners

Elementary school: 1st Place, Mia Zirkle, fourth grade, Mukilteo Elementary; 2nd Place, Cody Fahrenkopf, fourth grade, Discovery Elementary; 3rd Place, Kiana Oos, fourth grade, Cougar Creek Elementary.

Middle school: 1st Place, Ariella Mendevil, seventh grade, College Place Middle School; 2nd Place, Maritsa Sanchez, seventh grade, College Place Middle School; 3rd Places, Charlize Weiss, seventh grade, College Place Middle School and Aleah Goodwin, Eisenhower Middle School.

High School: 1st Place, Sophia Maggio, 10th grade, Everett High School; 2nd Place, HyeWon Ahn, junior, Kamiak High School; 3rd Place, Samantha Lundell, 12th grade, Kamiak High School.

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Most Read