Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

CNS/Joe Heller


Eighth grade students tie for winning MLK essays

By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published January 20, 2022

ATLANTA—The Office of Intercultural Ministries for the Archdiocese of Atlanta hosts the annual poster and essay contests for students as well as other events to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Maggie Maloney from Our Lady of the Assumption School in Atlanta and Payton Woodham from St. Catherine of Siena School in Kennesaw tied for first place in the essay contest. Both are eighth grade students at their respective schools.

The contest theme was “If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.”

The essays are featured here:

First Place Essay by Maggie Maloney

Dr. King and Jesus demonstrated love to the world through the way they helped others. The biblical statement “if we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25) can be applied to how both men lived though they lived their faith in different ways. Dr. King lived a life working for all people to have equal opportunities no matter their skin color, while Jesus lived a life to share the word of God with all. Both of these men followed the Spirit and lived a life in the Spirit. Their lives are examples of how God wants all to live. Dr. King and Jesus loved all men and wanted equality for everyone. They lived their lives working to make sure people treated each other with love and respect. 

The way Jesus and Dr. King lived was inspirational. They showed us how we should live our lives in the world by following the Spirit. Dr. King and Jesus lived a life in the Spirit and set  n example of how to live a faithful life by putting others before themselves. The way both of these men followed a faith-filled life should be an inspiration to all. I can apply the inspiration of Dr. King and Jesus by working for equality for all and also by acting on my faith. Both men showed bravery in acting on their beliefs. Dr. King and Jesus lived a life in the Spirit and treated all people with love and respect.

First Place Essay by Payton Woodham

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

The Holy Spirit wants us to love ourselves, others and God. Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified the practice of all three. He fought for his rights as well as all African Americans while pleasing God with his peaceful fight. Dr. King can be likened to Jesus, a man who showed us love by respecting the outcasts and weakest in society. Both led others to live in the Spirit by their own examples and are inspirations to follow. 

We can come together to find the power in love that Jesus preached in our own small battles. It may be discouraging and seem too menial, but both King and Jesus started as vulnerable children who persisted. Though we are not fighting for the salvation of mankind, we can fight for peace among our friends, inclusion for someone left out, or happiness in our families. This is how we truly live in the spirit; small battles of love.

It is difficult to have the courage to make a change. Going with the crowd is much safer and easier, but King and Jesus were not looking for safety. They had a passion and would stop at nothing; to the point where they were killed. By being the first to stand up for others, question wrongs, and work for equality, they inspired others as we should, too. Doing this gives us graces and virtues, helping us live in the Spirit.