Emphasizing the importance of diversity in the school system, LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing delivered the keynote speech at the Doña Ana County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) ninth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Monday, Jan. 15 at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces.

NAACP MLK Breakfast

Photo: Courtesy Mike Cook
Winners of the annual NAACP Essay/Poetry contest hold up there award certificates at the
NAACP’s ninth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Monday, Jan. 15 at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. Each of the winning writers read their award –winning essays or poems about Why Civil Rights Should Be Taught in Schools. (Left to right) Dona Ana County NAACP President Curtis Rosemond, LCPS Board of Education President Maria Flores, DAC NAACP Treasurer Alonso Moore, Centennial High School students Bianca Alonso; Kaden Taylor; Andrew Angel and LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing.

In addition, the top three winners of the NAACP’s 2018 Essay and Poetry Contest were recognized and an LCPS English teacher and a retired LCPS principal were honored for their work in the community.

Ewing used his keynote address to acknowledge the challenges many minorities face due to the prevalence of racism in today’s society. Ewing also stressed the importance of condemning racism in any form and bringing a diversity of ideas and backgrounds into education.

During the awards ceremony, Andrew Angel, a senior at Centennial High School, was recognized as the first place winner of the essay/poetry contest and was awarded a $200 gift card and a plaque. He won second place in last year’s contest.

Also recognized was Centennial High School junior Kaden Taylor, who earned second place and was awarded a $100 gift card and a plaque, and Centennial High School student Bianca Alonso, who won third place and was awarded a $50 gift card and a plaque.

Each of the three winning students also read their award-winning essay or poem during the ceremony. To participate in the contest, ninth-12th-grade students had to write an original essay or poem about this year’s topic—why civil rights should be taught in schools.

“The judges felt enlightened by the depth and sensitivity of each of the essays and poems submitted to the contest. Based on these submissions, there is no doubt that Dr. King’s influence will carry on for generations to come,” said Alonzo Moore, branch treasurer of the Doña Ana County NAACP.

Moore also explained that this year, the judging committee added an honorable mention category, given the quality of the submissions the contest received. The students who earned honorable mention were: Angel Montes, a student at Arrowhead Park Early College High School, and Jenna Castro, Megan Lackey, Ryan Ortiz and Dillan Rose, all students at Centennial High School.

In addition to the students who were recognized, Joel Hutchinson, a Centennial High School English teacher was presented a community service award and Dorris Hamilton, a former principal at Lynn Middle School and the first African American principal in Las Cruces, now retired, was honored with the Legacy Freedom Fighter award.

For information about the Doña Ana County NAACP, visit www.naacpdac.com.

-LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808