EDWARDSVILLE – Awards were presented at the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Award Celebration at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
The university recognized six recipients for their actions, talents and achievements, which exemplified the principles and ideals of King.
More than 25 essays, poems and visual arts entries were submitted from six area high schools for the Martin Luther King, Jr. High School Essay, Poetry and Visual Arts Contest.
The words written by Brett Harris, a freshman at Freeburg Community High School, resounded most.
“Dr. King compels all people to face injustice, rather than just sit by and let one’s moral standards be diminished into a thin veneer of good intent.”
Harris accepted the essay award saying, “The impact from what Dr. King said then has rippled into something insanely large, and I think the same thing can happen with our actions today, even if they’re small.”
Sadie Bronnbauer, senior at Collinsville High School, won the visual arts award, and Sarajane Nowman, freshman at Collinsville High School, received an award for her poetry.
“SIUE is proud to sponsor the high school contest which provides a form for recognizing outstanding achievement and fosters the development of academic and creative skills,” SIUE Senior Nicole Holmes said on behalf of the University at the birthday celebration.
Olivia Phipps, an SIUE senior pursuing a degree in finance, accepted the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship. Described as a dedicated and determined leader, Phipps will receive one semester of tuition from SIUE.
“Through her various activities and commitments at SIUE, Olivia exhibits her commitment to enhancing the welfare of all individuals,” announced Holmes. “Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she holds great passion and dedication toward racial reconciliation in the community.”
“One thing that Dr. King and I have in common is our faith and our value system. Regardless if it is 1960, 2013 or 2058, this value, this idea of reconciliation, this idea of community, this idea of unity, will be forever-lasting,” said Phipps.
John Cunningham MS’76 was this year’s Martin Luther King Humanitarian Community Recipient. Cunningham is a retired teacher and school administrator who is highly involved in the community.
“Like Dr. King, he believes in social justice,” said Holmes. “Mr. Cunningham believes that it is best provided through education, service, leadership, love, respect and a non-violent approach.”
“This is one of the most meaningful awards that I’ve received,” he said. “I lend myself in any way I can to the good things that go on in our community. I’m very excited about being recognized by friends at my alma mater.”
Recognized for her passion for giving back to the community, Jerrica Ampadu was the 2015 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Faculty/Staff Recipient. Ampadu is an instructor in the SIUE School of Nursing.
“I do a lot of outreach to the community, as far as introducing minority students to nursing and to SIUE’s School of Nursing,” said Ampadu. “I also reach out to health care centers, especially in Washington Park, to provide health-care services to that community.”
Ampadu works with minority and disadvantaged students and serves as a role model for the students in the School of Nursing, as well as, individuals in the community.
“Many describe Ms. Ampadu as a true leader in diversity, always working to promote racial sensitivity, harmony and understanding in her work and life of service to others,” explained Holmes.