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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest

photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is pleased to hold an annual statewide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing & Multimedia Contest.  This contest is intended to encourage students to reflect upon Dr. King’s life, philosophy, and impact on the Civil Rights movement and present day America. It is meant to challenge students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of Dr. King in their own way.

All Ohio students in grades 6-12 are invited to enter this contest and may submit one (1) entry per student.  Students may choose which type of entry they wish to submit.  All contest entries must be accompanied by a clearly written official entry form, completed in its entirety. (Submissions are not considered without a completed entry form).


Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award

The 2022 Excellence in Teaching Diversity nominations are now open! 

The Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award is given to an Ohio grade 6-12 teacher who demonstrates exemplary dedication to diversity and teaching the lessons of civil rights in the classroom. Any individual may nominate a teacher.


Award Description:

Each recipient of these awards will receive an honorary certificate, a small gift, and recognition at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest awards ceremony.


•  The nominee must be a current or former grade 6-12 teacher at an Ohio school.

Selection Criteria:

Award selection criteria include, but are not limited to:

•  The nominee’s consistent practice of celebrating diversity with students, colleagues, and community members;
•  The nominee’s ability to incorporate the lessons and tenants of the civil rights movement and Ohio’s civil rights laws into the classroom;
•  The nominee’s positive impact on students, particularly in the promotion of academic excellence and community engagement;
•  The nominee's leadership and communication skills;
•  The nominee’s respect and recognition by his/her peers as one who goes above and beyond the normal expectations of a teacher.

Selection Process: 

Nominations will be reviewed by the staff and Commissioners of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The Commissioners will select the winner based on the above criteria. Awards will be announced in January 2022.

Nomination Process: 

Nominators can respond directly to the questions on the following pages or attach a nomination in letter form. Please limit nomination letters to two typed pages. Nomination forms become the property of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and may be shared with the public and the nominee.

Although nomination questions are geared toward older children and adults, we do encourage input from young nominators as well – feel free to attach young student nominations to the completed form.



For more on the Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award, including previous winners, click here.


The 2021 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award Winner is:

Noel Ang

Columbus Collegiate Academy Main Street
Columbus, OH


The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is excited to announce the winners of our 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Essay, and Multimedia Contest! This year's theme is "Keep Moving." 

During the civil rights struggles of the 1960's, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leading voice against social injustices. The fight he led against racism and bigotry had many setbacks along the way, though. Dr. King understood that resilience and persistence would be necessary to achieve the goals of the Civil Rights Movement. Despite this trouble, Dr. King never strayed from his mission and he continued to speak out against injustice. In a speech at Spelman College on April 10, 1960, Dr. King said:

"If you can't fly, run; if you can't run, walk; if you can't walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”

Students were asked: When you were faced with a challenge or setback, what did you do? Did it bring out the best or the worst in you? How did you keep moving forward?

2021 Contest Winners:

Essay Winners:
6th Grade Essay: 
Gabriel Sherman - St. Benedict Catholic School
7th Grade Essay: Shira Baumann - Blendon Middle School
8th Grade Essay: Grant Archer - St. Michael's School
9th Grade Essay:
Jordon Manchook - Fairport Harding High School
10th Grade Essay: Kaden Paniagua - Champion High School
11th Grade Essay: Aroonrassamee Wongkeaitaroon - Boardman High School
12th Grade Essay: Chloe Millard - Normandy High School

Art Winners:
6th Grade Art: 
Gabriela Tiberi - Olentangy Berkshire Middle School
7th Grade Art: Alex LaSalla - Avon Middle School
8th Grade Art: Sienna Stephens - St. Angela Merici

9th Grade Art: Sophia Mancini - Hoover High School
10th Grade Art: Hannah Laing - Hoover High School
11th Grade Art: Erin Barnby - Hoover High School
12th Grade Art: Mazzy Grisak - Hoover High School

Multimedia Winner:
Multimedia: Emma Keykens - Lehman Catholic High School


Questions? Call us at (888) 278-7101