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Champions of Courage

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Champions of Courage 2015 Essay Finalists

A. Jeremiah P.
Calvert Hall High School.
Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Intelligence plus character that is the goal of true education”. My Champion of Courage, Kurt Schmoke, is a man of integrity and vision, similar to Dr. King, Mr. Schmoke is a transformational leader who is committed to empowering others. No matter what one’s race or religion, Mr. Schmoke believes that all people are created equal. As Mayor of Baltimore, Mr. Schmoke launched, “The City that Reads” campaign. Today, as a college president he continues to promote Dr. King’s legacy of quality education and access for everyone.

Charles M.
St John Catholic School.
Though I am a boy, I am writing about a woman. I believe Rosa Parks shows that life isn’t fair, but she said “No!” She changed what fair meant. Rosa Parks inspires me because to her and I; life can be hard. At times both of us have been laughed at by others for standing up for ourselves. Our gender may be different, but our ideas are the same. We can work together to bring peace and hope to this world. Together and only together we can change this world.

Caroline F.

Northwest Middle School.
My hero, who is undoubtedly my brother, was raised in the abuse and neglect of his peers. Having a love for classical music and computer technology, he was often labeled geek, nerd, and freak. Although he had every reason to hate humanity, he selflessly traded his comfort for discomfort and joined the mission field. He helped me the illiterate became literate and the starving become full. He has showed me, through his selfless years of service that every human of every race, IQ, and mindset deserves the opportunity to thrive.

Darius C.
Midtown Academy.
Someone is so cool and diverse, someone who inspired me with every verse. Which was the book of her life, filled with pain and strife. Which she told to me every night. My mom, whose thoughts had been crowded by moments of being hurt and sad, she still pulled through, told me, “I love you, and I will show you the way of life every single day and night. Never strike, never fight, but be peaceable with all, so you won’t see your own downfall.”

Jacqueline O.
Fallstaff Elementary Middle School.
My Champion had many victories, and failures too, but he never stopped peacefully motivating people to work towards justice. I want to embody his life’s dream and help those people who are still hiding in the shadows, scared of the world and frightened for their lives, safety, and future just because they are different. I have a dream that I can help the world accept and cherish people’s differences. I have a dream, just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Katrina M.
St Augustine School.
Maya Angelou has touched the hearts of many with her benevolence, humility, and beautiful individuality. Her words of empowerment have impacted my way of perceiving problems in our world. Maya Angelou believed that, “Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.” I think that she has helped this world regain strength through equality and truth and because of that; she is my Champion of Courage.

Lauren G.
St. Augustine School.
“I could not at any age be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on.” She aided those who were destitute and ostracized, and defended those who were marginalized. As the clutches of war tightened, she united a nation. When others were silent, she spoke out for unity and justice. Eleanor Roosevelt kindled a fire of love. She helped others light their own fire, and today she inspires me to light mine.

Luke E.
St. Casimir Catholic School.
“One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world.” Her passion and dedication to fighting for the rights for all young girls to go to school inspires me. Just like Dr. King, she had the courage to speak up for what she believed in; even if it meant risking her life. When I think of her, I realize how lucky I am to have an education. This is why Malala Yousafzai is my champion of courage.

Maddie B.
Gerstell Academy.
Many people have impacted my life greatly, but one in particular will always stay with me. That person is my old history teacher, Mr. O. He not only was an amazing teacher, but was also an amazing person who taught me how to be a leader and to instruct others around me. Much like Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. O helped me to always do what I believe in and to never give up on my dreams when someone says I can’t do them. Mr. O is someone that I strive to be. He taught me to approach everything with as much passion and effort as I possibly can and I want to be able to teach people the same thing. Mr. O is my Champion of Courage.

Maura S.
Perry Hall Middle School.
Condoleezza Rice. Hearing her name can spark fireworks of imagination. Raised in Alabama during segregation, she learned through enough education that her race couldn’t affect her. Condoleezza became the first female African American Secretary of State. Every day she inspires me to become educated and to work hard with determination. Throughout her accomplishments she stays humble yet proud. She teaches our generation not good values but great values. I can’t thank her enough for the motivation to succeed. She is a true inspiration.

Meika T.
Milford Mill Academy.
Malik Thomas is my Champion of Courage. He provides and cares for me and my safety and is the most responsible and strongest leader I know. He taught everyone he knows that bad times always happen in life. When his mother died and father left, he had to become a responsible and strong young man at the age of 14. Now he owns his own business, own house, helps his community and takes care of his family. Like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Michael D.
Burleigh Manor Middle School.
“I speak not for myself but for those without voice…those who have fought for their rights…their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” Though met with the evil of violence, she remained pacifistic. Though faced with death, she remained resilient, advocating her thoughts, her ideals. Her advocacy for human rights has grown into an international movement. Malala Yousafzai epitomizes Dr. King’s dream.

Michael S.
School of the Incarnation.
Derek Jeter is my role model of perseverance through his baseball career. One of his quotes is “There may be people who have more talent than you do but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” I admire his urging people to work their hardest. This is similar to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s quote, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, keep moving forward.” Derek Jeter and Dr. King practiced perseverance and hard work.

Minji P.
Loch Raven High School.
My Champion of Courage is my pastor’s wife, Kaylee White for supporting and leading biblical lessons, as well as making sure that our youth group members remained supportive of each other by lending a cohesion we lacked as individuals. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, she believes in diversity and equality, advocating friendship and understanding. Through her kind heart, we remembered that a true church supports its members, letting our differences unite us and reminding us of the importance of acceptance.

Mulan S.
Joppatowne High School.
I believed to be considered “pretty” I had to be light skinned, have long hair, and big bright eyes. When People saluted a dark skinned woman with short hair as “most beautiful” I became fascinated with Lupita Nyong’o. Dr. King taught that blacks should not be demeaned because of the color of their skin. Lupita has touched me, and any girl who has short, kinky hair, full lips, and dark skin and has made us feel beautiful. I see myself as a black girl…beautiful inside and out.

Raecine S.
Mercy High School.
Media mogul, megastar, and mentor to all African American women--when I hear these words, there is one person who comes to mind, and that is Oprah Winfrey. Oprah displays the teachings of Dr. King in my eyes through her strength and fame. She is a woman who has overcome so much, from poverty to racism, and has still come out on top. Her story inspires me to fight for what I believe in, just as Dr. King did.

Shyanne W.
Lansdowne Middle School.
My Champion of Courage is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and just like Dr. King, we as students need to stand up and take actions to stop bullying. A bully does and says mean things because it makes them feel powerful and popular but what they don’t realize is it hurts. Don’t be a bystander, stand up for what you believe in cause like Dr. King once said, “In the end , we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friend.”

Tristan V.
Parkville High School.
Manuel Scott inspired and talked to younger people who are struggling like he was in his childhood. Manny, was original Freedom Writer. He rose from the deepest depth of his life, from having the worst GPA of his school, and having a criminal record to a motivational speaker talking to young men about their problems and helping them. After listening to him during a recent leadership summit, he inspired me and told me to turn your greatest pain into greatness and relief. Therefore, Manny Scott should be a Champion of Courage because of his impact to young men in turmoil.

Zachary B.
St. Jane Frances School.
My grandfather taught me to live by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He always told me that people should be treated the same even if they are different from me. My grandfather had friends who were different nationalities, different races, or believed in different religions. He didn’t care if they weren’t just like him; he just cared that they were good people and good friends. I live my life like my grandfather. I look at a person for who he is and how he treats others.

Zachary V.
Oakland Mills High School.
Coach Brad Howell is my champion of courage because he helps young men like myself realize that character and strong values are essential on and off the mat. How he conducts himself while coaching and while in school shows us how to be a good man with character and integrity. The lessons he has taught me on and off the mat will stay with me forever. Coach Howell is a leader and a facilitator of boys to men and is a true source of light within our community.

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