Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, Rochester’s largest law firm, once again honored a group of local students for capturing the spirit and articulating the important and relevant message of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The firm recently announced the winners of its 8th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest. The topic of this year’s essay was “Why is Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech still important today?” The contest was open to all Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade students enrolled in the Rochester City School District. After reviewing an impressive total of 247 essay submissions, Harter Secrest & Emery’s Diversity Committee identified the top submissions, and members of the firm selected one winner at each grade level.

This year’s winners are:

  • Kierra Westbrook, Third Grade, Frank Fowler Dow School #52
    • Teacher: Ana Milian-Holmes
    • Principal: Dr. Mary Aronson
  • Rhyleigh Ross, Fourth Grade, Dr. Charles T, Lunsford School #19
    • Teachers: Ms. Lillis, Ms. Driscoll, Mr. Heirigs
    • Principal: Moniek Silas-Lee
  • Katherine Upham, Fifth Grade, Francis Parker School #23
    • Teacher: Jason Ford
    • Principal: John Gonzalez

“Each year, we are amazed at how the students of our community can reflect upon Dr. King’s words and apply them to their lives and environment,” said Megan K. Dorritie, Harter Secrest & Emery partner, who leads the firm’s Diversity Committee. “Having nearly 250 submissions is impressive and speaks volumes about the enthusiasm with which the District and the students embrace this opportunity. Our firm congratulates all of the students, teachers and principals who took part in this year’s contest for doing such a masterful job of capturing the essence of Dr. King’s important message and the ideals he spoke of in his landmark speech.”

Each winner received a personal gift, a $50 gift card, and a pizza party for her classroom. In addition, each winning student’s teacher received a $200 gift card to be used toward supplies for his or her classroom. Additional pizza parties were raffled off for every class that achieved 100 percent student participation in the essay contest, and Certificates of Appreciation were given to every participating classroom across the District.

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