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).


2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Contest

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is excited to announce the submission period is open for our 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Essay, and Multimedia Contest! This year's theme is "Be the Change." 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. studied many of the world’s great leaders and philosophers when framing his own beliefs. One of the most influential of those philosophers was Mahatma Gandhi, who Dr. King called, “the guiding light of [the] technique of nonviolent social change.” In 1959, Dr. King even travelled to India to walk in Gandhi’s footsteps and learn from Gandhi’s followers there. Dr. King and Gandhi shared the belief that love and peace are the best way to change the hearts and minds of the public. Both men understood that if they wanted to inspire their community to change, they had to make the same changes themselves. Gandhi said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.” Dr. King lived this philosophy by practicing peaceful protests instead of trying to counter hatred and violence with more of the same.

2018 Contest Winners:

Art Winners:
6th Grade Art: 
Gabrielle Herlocher- Waggoner Road Junior High School
7th Grade Art: Mohammed Maalin - Waggoner Road Junior High School
8th Grade Art: Caroline Ryan - Waggoner Road Junior High School
9th Grade Art: Paige Householder - Arlington Local School
10th Grade Art: Selena Chen - Lakota East High
11th Grade Art: Taylor Smith - Washington High School
12th Grade Art: Cassandra Frederick - Garfield Heights High School

Essay Winners:
6th Grade Essay: 
Genevieve Judson - Ontario Middle School
7th Grade Essay: Seth Stuber - Kimpton Middle School
8th Grade Essay: Anna Knauss - Bluffton Middle School
9th Grade Essay: Meagan Warren - Bexley High School
10th Grade Essay:  Danielle Pratt - Westerville North High School
11th Grade Essay: Cody Gaham - Vantage Career Center
12th Grade Essay:  Lane Moore - Dover High School

Multimedia Winners:
Emmet Looman, Eva Groff, Christine Shaw, James Shoemaker - Schilling School for Gifted Children


Questions? Call us at (888) 278-7101


Dwight SmithDwight Smith
Chair Leonard HubertChair Leonard Hubert
Gabrielle Herlocher and Chair HubertGabrielle Herlocher
Gabrielle Herlocher speakingGabrielle Herlocher speaking
Mohammed Maalin and Chair HubertMohammed Maalin
Mohammed Maalin speakingMohammed Maalin
Caroline Ryan and Chair HubertCaroline Ryan
Caroline Ryan speakingCaroline Ryan
Paige Householder and Chair HubertPaige Householder
Paige Householder speakingPaige Householder
Selena Chen and Chair HubertSelena Chen
Taylor Smith and Chair HubertTaylor Smith
Taylor Smith speakingTaylor Smith
Genevieve Judson and Chair HubertGenevieve Judson
Genevieve Judson speakingGenevieve Judson speaking
Seth Stuber and Chair HubertSeth Stuber
Seth Stuber speakingSeth Stuber speaking
Anna Knauss and Chair HubertAnna Knauss
Anna Knauss speakingAnna Knauss speaking
Meagan Warren and Chair HubertMeagan Warren
Meagan Warren speakingMeagan Warren speaking
Danielle Pratt and Chair HubertDanielle Pratt
Danielle Pratt speakingDanielle Pratt speaking
Cody Gaham and Chair HubertCody Gaham
Cody Gaham speakingCody Gaham speaking
Lane Moore and Chair HubertLane Moore
Lane Moore speakingLane Moore speaking
Multimedia Winners and Chair HubertMultimedia Winners
Eva Groff speakingEva Groff speaking
Emmett LoomanEmmett Looman
Christine ShawChristine Shaw
James ShoemakerJames Shoemaker
photo of art winnersphoto of art winners
photo of essay winnersphoto of essay winners
Multimedia winnersMultimedia winners
Damien Johnson and Chair HubertDamien Johnson
Damien Johnson speakingDamien Johnson speaking
Damien JohnsonDamien Johnson
All 2018 MLK Winners and PresentersAll 2018 MLK Winners and Presenters
Genevieve Judson and Ann BrubakerGenevieve Judson and Ann Brubaker
Gabrielle Herlocher and Rep. CraigGabrielle Herlocher and Rep. Craig

Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award

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 and a teacher may nominate himself/herself.

The winner of the 2018 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award is:

Damien Johnson
MC2 Stem High School
Cleveland, OH

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 2018.

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.

2018 Deadline: 

Nominations may be emailed by 8:00 am on November 3, 2017, or may be mailed to the following address. Mailed nominations must be postmarked by November 1, 2017.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Attn: PACE

30 E. Broad St., 5th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215



Click here for the Excellence in Teaching Diversity nomination form 



The winners of the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award are:

Jody Pettiford
Mills Lawn School
Yellow Springs, OH

James Casale
Shaker Heights High School
Shaker Heights, OH