Two local students came up big in a long-running essay contest coordinated by two local television affiliates.
Loch Raven High School senior Erin Nolder took first place in the 26th annual Champions of Courage essay contest while Loch Raven Technical Academy 6th-grader Sol'jah Evans-Boum took third place, according to a news release from Baltimore County Public Schools.
The essay contest, which is coordinated by Baltimore FOX affilate WBFF and CW affiliate WNUV, celebrates Black History Month. About 3,500 students from 83 schools entered the contest with essays about their personal heroes to describe how their heroes reflect the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nolder, who earned a $250 personal award and $600 for her school, wrote about a Loch Raven High School coach.
"The majority of lessons learned from high school coaches probably involve a physical skill, but my field hockey coach, Elizabeth Miller, has given me something more valuable," Nolder wrote in her essay. " Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in the power of unity over division, she showed us that our team was stronger together than we ever could be as individuals."
Evans-Boum, who earned a $100 person award and $300 for his school, wrote about his mother.
"My mother displays the teaching of Dr. King through her role as a mentor to hundreds of Baltimore's at-risk juvenile offenders. She offers compassion and love to her mentees and does not judge them based on their past choices," he wrote. "Her love inspires them to have hope. My mom helps kids to discover their talent, and shows them how to make their dreams a reality."
In addition to monetary awards, the winners schools will be offered access to Operation HOPE’s Banking on Our Future financial literacy program though contest sponsor M&T Bank, according to a press release from Baltimore County Public Schools.
Video of the students reading their essays will be aired on WBFF and WNUV throughout the month of February.
Congratulations to Erin and Sol'jah.