Students grades 6 – 12 invited to participate in OHIO Southern MLK Writing Contest


IRONTON – The Ohio University Southern Council on Diversity and Inclusion has announced the prompt for the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Contest.

The theme of the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Contest is, “Inspired by His Words.” Participants are asked to read specific quotations that are engraved on the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, DC, which can be found listed on the contest website.

The 2023 challenge is open to students in grades 6-12 in the Ohio University Southern Tri-State service area of Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Students should select a quote that inspires them and write a poem or short essay that responds to the quote in some way. They should think about how the quote applies to their own community or personal experiences today and let those thoughts guide the response.

“Each year it is my honor to help coordinate this writing contest,” said Dr. Hayley Haugen, Professor of English at OHIO Southern and one of the contest judges. “The contest provides a wonderful opportunity to encourage young writers to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to share their impressive writing with our community. The judges and I always enjoy reading the submissions and look forward to the poetry the students will generate from this year’s prompt.”

Prizes will be awarded in two categories; grades 6-8 and 9-12.

Grades 6-8: First Place – $100; Second Place – $50; Third Place – $25

Grades 9-12: First Place – $100; Second Place – $50; Third Place – $25

“Ohio University Southern has offered this contest for many years now, and while the cash incentive is great, we hope each student who participates will learn about the legacy of Dr. King and, in turn, learn how they can affect change in their own communities,” Robert Pleasant, OHIO Southern Director of Student Services, said.

All entries must be received online by 5 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2023. For a full list of contest guidelines and how to enter, visit

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