Archive for the ‘Outreach’ Category.

Essay Contest Winners Recognized by the Grand Rapids School Board

Warner Norcorss & Judd Diversity Partner poses with the winners of the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. , essay contest.  From left to right: Sophia Crumback-Tarrien, Maya Barbee, and Sofe Blomeling.

Warner Norcorss & Judd Diversity Partner poses with the winners of the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. , essay contest. From left to right: Sophia Crumback-Tarrien, Maya Barbee, and Sofe Blomeling.

Twenty-three students who participated in the 9th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest conducted by Warner Norcross & Judd were recognized last evening at a meeting of the Grand Rapids School Board. The three winners — Sofe Blomeling, Sophia Crumback-Tarrien, and Maya Barbee — each read their essays to the Board. Blomeling, the grand prize winner, received a standing ovation from the Board and the members of the audience. In addition, the twenty students who received honorable mention were invited to come forward and receive their awards.

Essay Contest Winners Recognized at School Board Meeting

Diversity Partner Rodney Martin appeared before the Grand Rapids Public School Board on Monday, February 4 to present the awards to the winners and recipients of honorable mention recognition in the 8th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest conducted by Warner Norcross & Judd.  Here are a couple pictures taken after the presentation.

Grand Prize winner Daijon Miller (left) and First Runner Up Tyevon Williams, with Diversity Partner Rodney Martin

Grand Prize winner Daijon Miller (left) and First Runner Up Tyevon Williams, with Diversity Partner Rodney Martin

 

2012-13 Essay Contest Winners and Honorable Mention Awardees

2012-13 Essay Contest Winners and Honorable Mention Awardees

WNJ Announces Winners in the 2009-10 Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has announced the results of its Fifth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest.

The contest, which was open to all sixth-grade students within Grand Rapids Public Schools, challenged the students to write an essay on one of four topics designed to encourage students to think about how Dr. King’s legacy of peace and justice applies to the world in which they live. More than 110 students entered this year’s competition.

The winning essays appear below. In addition to these essays, 17 students received an Honorable Mention award.

The winning essayist will read her essay at the Grand Rapids Community College Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration events at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18. All winners will be invited to read their essays at the Grand Rapids Public School board meeting on Monday, Feb. 1.

Here are the winning essays.


Grand Prize Winner: Cache Allen

Ms. Holt’s class at Riverside Middle School

($300 Savings Bond and $50 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Dr. King once said, “Life’s most urgent question is – what are you doing for others?” That question was asked because people didn’t and still don’t seem to care about others even though we share the same world. He wanted us to help each other so that each person from our community learns to have a powerful self-image inside. People who feel good about themselves are often positive role models, and end up passing the help forward.

One of those role models I learned from is Loretta Claiborne. As a child Loretta could not walk or talk. She was mentally challenged but still accomplished her dream of being a track runner. More importantly, she helped people by giving her time to the elderly, and being a role model for kids and grown-ups, too. It was difficult to grow up to be who she is now, but Dr. King would be pleased with what she was able to accomplish.

My dream to care for people is to become a doctor and to cure the sick. My role model is Dr. Ben Carson. He is an intelligent man who specializes in separating conjoined twins. These children are now happier apart. Along with being a doctor, I would like to use my large income to help the homeless. I would give them food to eat, clothes to wear, and give them extra money, so that at least can afford things to make them comfortable.

I believe that I can honor Dr. King’s memory by doing these good things as well as doing my best in school. I also believe that Dr. King’s life would have had more meaning if we all would get good educations and work together to help the world. It would honor Dr. King if we used our gifts and started to make things better in our own communities. After that our neighbors would help spread that help to more cities, then countries, and eventually it would spread over the entire world!


First Runner-Up: Miles C. Jones

Ms. Welsh’s class at C.A. Frost Middle School

($200 Savings Bond and $25 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

Dr. King decided to stick with love. He felt hate was too heavy to bear. An example of what Dr. King meant when he described hate as a heavy burden is the example of having to carry around a 70 lb. bag of potatoes everywhere you went. It would be too heavy to carry. But love isn’t like that.

Love can be heavy on your heart sometimes but it also has the ability to take away some burdens. Love helps you to become someone who doesn’t hate. This is what I’m trying to be: someone who shows and shares love and not someone who has feelings of hatred. I am the type of person who likes to know what’s coming next. I like to prepare for the future. I don’t worry about a lot of things. I look at Dr. King’s life and I wonder how he was able to deal with all of the hatred that was coming at him. What I’ve learned is that he deflected hatred with love. Dr. King had lots of things to worry about. He really couldn’t afford to take all that extra weight that comes with hatred. So he just kept it simple and just focused on love.

I think hate and discrimination still happens in our city, state, country and the world. I believe it’s because people can’t let go of the past and they hold on to grudges. Love makes you free and it helps you to let go of the things of the past that hold you back. Hate and discrimination are diseases and they can make you sick. So, I believe that when someone is sick or has a disease they need to see a doctor. I believe a doctor would give them a prescription for love because love has the power to heal.

Hate and discrimination will go away when men and women, boys and girls stop judging each other and thinking bad things about one another. Dr. King said we should be “judged by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin.” It’s up to us to make a change. Kids my age can make a difference. If I have to choose between carrying hate and carrying love, I’ll carry love any day.


Second Runner-Up: Vera Spence

Ms. Gregory’s Class at Harrison Middle School

($100 Savings Bond and $25 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

THE DREAM AND MY DREAM…

“I have a dream,” said Martin standing at the podium, sweat dripping down his forehead, the hot sun blazing on him. Everyone screaming at the top of their lungs, “YEAH!” And he gave that speech not only from a piece of paper, but from his heart. And he said,’ I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their skin, but by the content of their character.” And I knew he meant not by their skin, but by their personality and who they are – the person that they are inside.

The content of my character is outgoing, worthy, creative, talented, trustful, filled with laughter and sorrow. I am who I am. People don’t judge me by my skin. If they did, I’d probably be a lonely girl. I’d go insane. I’d go ballistic. I’d fight for my rights, too. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I’d fight with peace, and not with fists. And I’d give up my life for what I believe. If they judged me by my skin, they’d miss a loving, self-confident, heart-warming girl. They’d miss my trust. They’d miss my laugh. They’d miss who I am – and what I am.

Dr. King’s dreams mostly came true because different skins join together hand-in-hand. I see little black and white girls playing jump rope and taking care of dolls. I see black and white men and women making families and loving each other – holding hands and talking. I see Asians and Mexicans walking together, talking and laughing. I see Native Americans and German hugging and crying s if they were saying goodbye forever. I see Polish and Africans dancing and playing tag.

I see the world out of my eyes and today, it’s happy. Races join together in harmony is what I see. Like me. I am a Native American girl that has Jamaican cousins and was born in Florida. I go to Harrison Park Middle and I have lots of friends who are different races. Like Kristin – she’s mixed with White, Black, Polish, German and Mexican. Or Dulce, my best friend, who is Mexican. Or Kayla – she’s white. Or Cuinasia – she’s black. Or Angelina – an Asian. And many others. I get to be friends with all races at Harrison.

I have a dream that we will all be the same.” It’s all happening, little by little, decade by decade, year by year, month by month, week by week, day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. We’re changing all the time. So tomorrow, wake up and say, “ Thank you, Dr. King.” Because he’s the reason why you’re not judged by your skin, but by your character. I’m saved.

“I’m color blind. I do not judge people by the color of their skin, but by their hearts.”


Second Runner-Up: José Longoria

Ms. Depker’s Class at Southwest Community Campus

($100 Savings Bond and $25 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968). He was the youngest man ever to earn the Nobel Peace Prize at age of 35. Dr. King’s most famous speech of all was his speech in 1963 entitled, “ I Have a Dream.”

When Dr. King was referring to the phrase “content of their character,” I believe he was referring to the identity or what makes a person special or unique. Most people would say that the content of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s character was special because he respected all men, women and children. He strongly opposed violence and believed all men and all races are created equally under the eyes of God.

I believe when people view me, I hope they see the goodness in me. I hope that they see that I am a caring and respectful person. I believe in peace in the world and for my fellow men. I hope when someone looks at the content of my character they will see that I will do anything for someone if I am able. If people would judge me just by the color of my skin, I think they are looking past the beliefs of Dr. King and not recognizing the goodness in me.

Dr. King’s dream came true for the simple fact that we have witnessed the election of our first black president, Barack Obama – and not just because he’s black, but because of how he became president. Barack Obama did not just have black voters. He had voters of many races, men and women. I believe that this one part of history shows unity in our country and gives hope that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s hard work and perseverance was not in vain.

• Central High School Mock Trial Teams Shine in Regional Competition

Central High School’s two mock trial teams, coached by Warner Norcross & Judd, competed with teams from 10 other schools yesterday in the Western Regional Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament. 

With a 2-1 record, Central’s”A” team received an Honorable Mention award. Their only loss was to eventual winner Forest Hills Eastern, with a record of 3-0.  We believe Central’s “B” team was 1-1 going into the third round, where they faced, of all teams, Central’s “A” team!  

Madelaine Lane reports that, “The students all did a great job, especially in the last round where the two Central teams faced each other – they did an excellent job and received fantastic comments from the judges.”

Congratulations to both teams, and congratulations and thank you to the team of coaches from Warner Norcross, which included: Sarah Howard, Madelaine Lane, Inga Hofer, Scott Carvo, Jeanne Long, Joe Sadler, Julie Lam, Christine Maher, and Dan Borst.

• WNJ Prepares Central HS Mock Trial Teams

2008 Central High School Mock Trial TeamFor the third year, Warner is coaching the Grand Rapids Central High School Mock Trial team. Since November, Warner attorneys have been visiting the school to help students prepare to play the role of attorneys and witnesses in the fictional case of Young v. Gardner.

On March 7, 2009, the team will compete in the Western Regional Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Michigan Center for Civic Education.  The event will be held at the Kent County Courthouse. With the help of coaches, Sarah Howard, Madelaine Lane, Inga Hofer, Scott Carvo, Jeanne Long, Joe Sadler, Julie Lam, Christine Maher, and Dan Borst, the students have prepared the case from start to finish. They have studied the affidavits and police reports, drafted their direct and cross-examination questions, and authored opening and closing arguments. In fact, there was so much enthusiasm in this year’s class, that Central High School has entered two teams in the competition.

As always, we hope to have a strong contingent from Warner to support the students at the competition on March 7th. If you have any questions, or are interested in helping the teams in these closing weeks, please contact Sarah Howard or Madelaine Lane.

The Michigan Center for Civic Education is looking for attorneys and paralegals to volunteer as judges and bailiff/timekeeperss in the competition.   If you are interested in volunteering, open the Volunteer Registration Form for details.  Volunteers are needed in Grand Rapids on Saturday, March 7 and Pontiac on Saturday, March 14.

• Winners of the 2008-2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest

Martin Luther King, Jr.At a cerermony today held by the Kent Intermediate School District and GRCC to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Warner Norcross & Judd will announce the winners of its 4th annual essay contest for sixth graders in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. This year 325 students submitted essays, an increase of 90 from last year. 

The entries were judged by 75 staff and attorneys in our offices around the state. The winners were selected by three members of the firm along with two members from the community – Maxine Gray, a board member of BL²END, and Melinda Ysasi, the President of the board of the West Michigan Hispanic Center.  We appreciate the efforts of all of our readers.

We are pleased to announce the following winners of this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest.  This year, we had a Grand Prize winner, a First Runner Up and two students who tied for Second Runner Up.  Here are their essays.

Grand Prize Winner  ($300 Savings Bond and $50 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

Alexus in Mrs. Holt’s Sixth Grade Class, Riverside Middle School

Question 1:   In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous 1963 speech “I Have a Dream,” Dr. King emphasized peace, respect and equality for every human being.  His dream was that one day we would live in a nation where children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  Has Dr. King’s dream come true?  Use examples from your life experiences to support your answer.

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR AND HOW HE CHANGED A NATION

            “I have a dream.” The powerful words helped our nation rise up and change people. That’s why we have the slogan “We are one.” Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted black and white people to get along and be one nation. He also wanted blacks to be treated the same as whites. That dream has somewhat come true this past November when we elected the first black President of the Untied States.

            For the first time a whole lot of white people must have voted for Barack Obama. About only 12.8% of our population is African American while white Americans make up many times more than that of the population. WHAT A CHANGE! So, therefore, that means that more Caucasians voted for the first black American President.

            There are some ways in which his dream has not yet come true. For example, Don Imus, a radio speaker, called the Rutgers Woman’s Basketball Team some racial slurs. Dr. King would never have stood for this. But the problem isn’t just whites against blacks; it can be the other way around also. Reverend Jeremiah Wright said racial things about whites too. This is not what Dr. King meant when he said that he hoped one day we would all be able to “sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

            There is another dream that still has to come true. Dr. King also had the dream of a non-violent America; we still need to work on it. Dr. King never applied himself to the belief that blacks needed to be treated BETTER than anyone else, just equal. We should always remember his words that “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”

First Runner-Up  ($200 Savings Bond and $25 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

Malika in Mrs. May’s Sixth Grade Class, Grand Rapids Montessori

Question 2: “I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”  ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  What do you think Dr. King meant by this?  Thinking about his quote, why do you think hate and discrimination still exist today?  In what ways is love an easier burden to bear?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Quote

            Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the most profound person in history. All though there are many others, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in love over violence. His way of thinking inspired an abundant amount of people. I’m sure you know who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is, but if you don’t, he is noted for his eloquence in his ever so many quotes and speeches that spoke of kindness, peace and equality.

            When Dr. King said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear,” I think he meant that loving is easier than hating. If you hate someone you feel anger towards that person. If you love someone you feel happiness towards them. Which one do you think is easier for you, anger or happiness? Love or hate? The weight of hate is too heavy, but the lightness of love is beautiful

            Dr. Martin Luther King probably said that he had to stick with love and that hate is too great a burden to bear because that is what he believed. And believing in something great that can help people is far greater than believing in something that’s wrong and can hurt so many. We all should consider others feelings and we should try to treat others how we would want to be treated. If everyone believed in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ways, and truly followed them, maybe discrimination would end, and equality and peace would prevail.

            Agreeing with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is so easy for many to do, but to actually erase violence and practice love is something our nation should try hard to accomplish. If we all just tried a little harder we could really succeed. Even though there is still discrimination every person can make a difference. We know that at least one person has made a big difference. Imagine what you can do. If I, or anyone became even half of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was, that would be it’s own reward. And if our nation succeeded as a whole in sticking with love, that would be an even greater reward!

Second Runner-Up  ($100 Savings Bond and $25 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

Deion in Ms. Gregory’s Sixth Grade Class, Harrison Middle School

Question 1:   Has Dr. King’s dream come true?  Use examples from your life experiences to support your answer.

            In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous 1963 speech “I have a dream,” Dr. King emphasized respect, peace and equality for every human being. His dream was that one day we would live in a nation where children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character

            I think Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous 1963 speech “I have a dream” has changed the United States for ever. If it was not for the Negros and Whites that gave up most of there free time to help protest to get people to change their mind about racism. I would not be in here with half these kids right now. Let alone I would probably not be here in this classroom right now. I am so honored to know that all the people that stood be hind Martin Luther King tried to help change the world. Because if we would of kept letting this racism go on we would not have the great African American president Barack Obama in office right now. Actually we would not have any blacks [African Americans] in office right now.

            I do believe that Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech has come true for me. But other times I think it has not came true at all. I think to myself sometimes what if Martin Luther King Jr. was never born. Would I still be here today? Would I have the great, caring, and loving side of my family that is African American? Dr. King has changed my life but it seems that it is not the same answer for others. When I go to school I see kids getting picked on just because of the color of their skin. Or after school I see 8th grade Mexicans getting beat on by other blacks kids. Just because that kid walked on there side of the street or at school the kid might have looked at them the wrong way. Maybe it is just because the other kid is white or Mexican and a black kid might think that the color of their skin is too dark or too light. When I see that kind of stuff I ask myself why haven’t they learned to love because to hate such more of a burden to bear.

            In other ways his dream has came true to me. Because my mother is white, but my father is black. When both of are families have get together it is great to see two different racist come together and just have a good time. Because when I see them eating together and playing games with each other or just even talking to each other tells me inside that his dream has came true [alive] . When I see that it tells me his dream has came true to not only me but everyone else. If all this racism was still going on I would not be here. Not only that I would not have this loving caring father that is so loving and caring that loves me so much.

            That is why I believe Martin Luther King; Jr.’s famous 1963 speech ‘I Have A Dream’ has come true to me, my family and many more Americans throughout the United States. I believe his 1963 speech ‘I Have A Dream’ has become reality. Thank you Dr. King thank you for helping change the United States forever.

Second Runner-Up  ($100 Savings Bond and $25 Schuler Bookstore Gift Certificate)

Devontae in Mrs. Stein’s Sixth Grade Class, Westwood Middle School

Question 1:   Has Dr. King’s dream come true?  Use examples from your life experiences to support your answer.

I feel that Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. “I have a dream” speech has in part come true because for the first time in history we will have an African American president. Presidential elect Barack Obama has proven to everyone not just African Americans that with hard work, determination, and by the grace of “God” anything is possible. Though it has taken what will be 47 years for what I feel will be a monumental moment when Barack Obama is inaugurated on January 19th, 2009. This is what so many of our people have longed to see a world where we can be judged solely on our merit, what we as individuals can accomplish, an what I hope will be the beginning for us to a road of respect for one another. We have come along ways from being abused, enslaved, bought, an sold an let we survive. All people want a chance to be heard, treated equally, respected, an able to live in a world where you can dream the inevitable no matter your color an not have to be judged on the color of your skin or be put in this category because you just happen to be black. We as a people of all creeds an colors will stop the act of racism learn to uplift an help one another then one day we will truly be able to say Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A dream” Speech has definitely come true.