The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee announces the winners of its annual Humanitarian Award and the Children of the Dream Awards, to be presented at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Monday, January 20 at 3 p.m. The annual tribute and musical celebration will be held at the e Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman La., North Bethesda.
“We have thousands of people who everyday contribute their time, talents, energy and resources to make Montgomery County such a wonderful place to live,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “All of these individuals are outstanding examples of that corroborative spirit of our community.”
This year’s Humanitarian Award will be presented to Michael Williams, social studies teacher at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda and Anhar Karim, a senior at Northwest High School, in Germantown.
In addition to his teaching duties, Williams serves as a volunteer coordinator of the Minority Scholars Program (MSP). The MSP began in 2005, with the goal of improving the academic performance of African American and Latino students and increasing their enrollment in honors and advance placement courses. The program has been successful in changing the culture among African American and Latino students at Walter Johnson. To help students achieve their goals they receive mentoring, academic support, encouragement and recognition. Five years ago, under Williams’ leadership, the program spread to other schools in the County and the focus has recently shifted to include the importance of leadership in the school and community. Williams believes that all students can succeed and that schools and educators have an obligation to help them achieve their fullest potential.
Anhar Karim is president of the Montgomery County Muslim Student Association, an organization that plans various activities, and he is involved in student-issue advocacy in the County’s public schools. Karim has testified in front of the School Board, and along with community leaders and elected officials, helped to create the “Equality 4 Eid” campaign, calling for the Muslim holiday of Eid to be designated an official school holiday. Through his work with the Muslim Student Association, he has helped to build a stronger community among the Muslim and non-Muslim students throughout the County.
The 2014 Children of the Dream Awards are annually presented to one male and one female high school student, or group or club, who demonstrate outstanding character and community and school involvement. This year’s recipients are Ekiomoado Olumese, a senior at Poolesville High School; Malachi Stoll, a senior at Walt Whitman High School; and the Dance Marathon program at Clarksburg High School.
Ekiomoado Olumese is a hard working student in the Global Ecology Studies magnet program. She tutors with the G.B. Thomas Learning Academy and is involved with the Distance Learning Program and is part of the Physician Scientist Training program. Olumese has distinguished herself as conscientious, dependable and committed. She plans to further her studies in biochemistry and medicine.
Malachi Stoll has risen above challenges to succeed in honors and advanced placement classes despite his dyslexia. With a special interest and aptitude in social sciences and history, he was selected as one of 50 students in the County to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program based on his reputation with faculty and staff. Stoll also created an award-winning non-profit organization called Goals for Justice which acts to get more teenagers engaged and involved in social action work. Passionate about his Jewish heritage, he serves in several capacities on the Youth Board of Directors through his temple.
Students participating in Clarksburg High School’s Dance Marathon program support the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, in response to a tragedy that impacted the entire school. Sam Moore, a Clarksburg student died from a brain tumor in August of 2012. Although devastated, a group of Sam’s friends organized a student group to help provide fundraising and awareness of childhood brain cancer. A dance marathon was organized with all proceeds donated to the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation. The event, which required students to solicit sponsorships and dance for more than 26 hours, raised nearly $25,000. The group has established rules and procedures to ensure that this special event will continue on an annual basis.
Entries were also sought for the literary arts contest and visual arts show in observance of the life of Dr. King. Both were open to all elementary, middle and high school students in the County. Students from 17 schools participated in the visual arts show with more than 100 pieces of artwork submitted. Their work will be on display at Strathmore on January 20, and during the month of February in the lobby of the Executive Office Building in Rockville.
Entries for the literary arts contest were judged on understanding and appreciation of the ideals of Dr. King, clarity and originality of expression and adherence to the 2014 theme, “Honoring the Legacy: Celebrate, Serve, Remember.” Winners of this year’s contest were: Kyle Dalrymple, fifth grader at Rosemount School in Gaithersburg; Starr Howard, eighth grader at Bullis School in Potomac; and Lilah Katz, sixth grader at Pyle Middle School. All three will have an opportunity to read their essays and receive a citation presented by the County Executive and a cash award from The Gazette Newspapers as part of the MLK celebration on January 20 at the Music Center at Strathmore.
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