Martin Luther King Jr. contest focuses on theme of 50 years

By A Contributor

In 1962, Manhattan’s Douglass School was closed, allowing for the complete integration of Manhattan elementary schools.

The 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Writing, and Video contests focuses that 50-year anniversary with the theme:  Looking Back, Looking Forward:  50 Years of Change.

This theme encourages contest participants to look at their community, their family, and their lives and how the past 50 years have changed, or not changed, in regards of Dr. King’s overriding message of non-violence, social justice, and building bridges between racial and ethnic divisions.

Each year, the MLK Contest Committee directs the contest with support from Manhattan’s MLK Memorial Committee and sponsored by Manhattan Public Library, the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation, Manhattan Library Association, and The Gallery for Peace and Justice.

Added Features
For 2012, the Contest Committee decided to add two new aspects to the contest: 1) a video category, and 2) a group entry option.

Video submissions will be accepted written to disc to be played on computer or DVD player. Three to five minute videos can be in any style. While the Contest Committee envisioned short narratives, interviews, reenactments, or even something set to music, this category will allow budding videographers to express their creativeness in numerous ways.

Group entries will be allowed for the first time, allowing for small groups or classrooms to work on a project together and submit the work. After much consideration, the Contest Committee decided group entries could, in many cases, be the easiest way for teachers or group leaders to get many kids involved in a teachable project at the same time. All members must be listed on the entry form but only one prize will awarded per entry. The group should enter grade category based on average participant age.

General Information

As always, all participants must live or attend school in Riley or adjacent counties in Kansas.

Participants of all ages are encouraged! This includes KSU students, parents, teachers, and community members who can enter the post-High School age group. Entries will be judged in five age groups:  K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th, 6-8th, 9th-12th grade, and post High School.

Entry deadline for all entries is 6 p.m., Sunday, January 8, 2012 at Manhattan Public Library, 629 Poyntz Avenue. Entries will not be accepted after this time as judging will take place the following day.

Submission Requirements

All submissions must be original works created by the entrant. A completed entry form must be attached to the work. Only one writing in each category will be accepted by any person or group.



Entries can be in any medium on a two-dimensional scale and must be no larger than 20 inches by 30 inches.

Artwork is judged based on:  artistic quality, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance.



May be a letter, poem, memoir, story of a personal experience, or other appropriate form no longer than 500 words. Entries must be typed or legibly written.

Writing is judged based on: writing style, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance. Writing entries will be subject to plagiarism checks.



A three to five minute piece, which may be an interview, reenactment, musical or theatrical performance, movie short, animation, or other appropriate form. Entry should be written to disc to be played on computer or DVD player. Copyright laws must be followed and all persons appearing must give consent.

Videos are judged based on:  production value, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance. Video entries will be subject to copyright checks.



First place and honorable mention awards given in each of the five age groups, with one Best of Show winner recognized from all entries for each of the three categories.

Winners will be contacted by Wednesday, January 11. Creators of winning entries will be asked to participate in the MLK Youth Celebration sponsored by HandsOn Kansas State on Sunday, January 15, and an awards ceremony during the Martin Luther King, Jr. community celebration on Monday, January 16 at Manhattan Town Center.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation, over $1000 worth of prizes will be awarded through individual prizes and educational supplies for winners’ classrooms.

With signed permission, selected entries may be published, broadcast and/or displayed throughout the Manhattan community. Winning and selected entries may also be used for publishing in a calendar and/or greeting cards developed and distributed by The Gallery for Peace and Justice.

For more information, click the MLK Contest link on the MPL homepage (, or call 776-4741 ext. 170.


Janene Hill is a young adult services librarian at the Manhattan Public Library.

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