MLK Jr. Award

(from left) Ingleside Principal Christopher Thuman, Mackenzie Bream and SUSD Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard. 

A student from Arcadia has been recognized with a big honor following her essay submission to a special contest for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

Arizona State University hosted its 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on January 24. There, Ingleside Middle School eighth grader Mackenzie Bream was chosen as the first-place winner in this statewide writing contest for the essay category of grades 6-8. The winners of the contest have the privilege to read their winning pieces aloud and join in the celebrations. 

The contest was organized by the ASU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, which strives to celebrate the legacy and servant leadership exemplified by the monumental figure of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. 

The K-12 Student Essay and Poster contest asks participants to capture Dr. King’s long-lasting legacy through words and art. One of the highlights at the yearly MLK celebration is the recognition and awards ceremony for the intelligent and inspiring contest winners. 

Essay winners read their submissions to the crowd, while poster winners get to see their art transformed into beautiful bookmarks handed out to guests. 

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU MLK Jr. Committee Chair and ASU VP for Cultural Affairs, says essays like Mackenzie’s truly captured the essence of Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he was all about.

“Dr. King is a model of servant-leadership, which encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening and the ethical use of power and empowerment,” Jennings-Roggensack said. “The ASU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee encourages the continuation of Dr. King’s legacy all year long.” 

Every year, the committee joins forces with the ASU Herberger School of Design and Arts to select a team of students who compete to be brand marketers of the year’s campaign. 

The most recent contest and the essay category for grades 6-8 was focused on the theme of “Find Your Voice,” and Mackenzie did just that. Submissions are judged based on criteria such as ties to the branding message, memorable storytelling, human elements and connections to leadership. 

Mackenzie’s piece not only made an impression on the judges, she made quite the impression on someone important in her life who puts others before herself. Mackenzie’s essay titled, “My Hero,” told the compelling story of her Aunt Judy’s spirit, servant-leadership and sacrifice. Mackenzie says she’s always looked up to her Aunt Judy, and when she found out her assignment for language arts had blossomed into a contest-winning essay, she was thrilled. 

“I was so excited and happy,” Mackenzie said. 

As she discusses in her essay, Mackenzie has positive hopes and goals for the future. “A change I would like to see in the world would be a cure for cancer,” she said. “My goals are to continue to get good grades in high school and play college volleyball.” 

Mackenzie’s mom, Shelly Bream, says they were pleasantly surprised to hear she won the contest, as they didn’t even know she had entered one. 

“We were proud of the fact that she chose her Aunt Judy and that Mackenzie saw the accomplishments and contributions Judy has made to those who are going through hard times,” Shelly said. “The fact that she won, with so many great entries, was very exciting.”