Peace and Disarmament

Back to listOct 28, 2012

Victory Over Violence Essay Contest Held in Albuquerque

Marc MillerEssay contest winners from the Albuquerque School of Excellence. Left to right, Zoren Acosta, Paul Rosenberg and Sarah Dallo, winner of the 9th-12th grade category

In conjunction with the showing of the "Transforming the Human Spirit" anti-nuclear weapons exhibition from September 29 to October 28 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the local SGI-USA group cosponsored its second Victory Over Violence essay contest, in partnership with the local UN Association (UNA) and the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice.

The contest was open to all students from grades 1 to 12, with prizes awarded to two people in each of five categories including adult high school students. The adult students are enrolled at the Gordon Bernell Charter School, a high school created to cater for adults, including those in the local detention center.

Zoren AcostaEighth-grader Zoren Acosta reads his essay that won first prize in the 6th-8th grade category

Students had to write an essay of 500 words or less on one of the following themes: How do human beings become more peaceful? What do you see as the link between war and daily violence? What can we do to promote human security? Entrants were encouraged to use information from the exhibition panels as reference material in preparing their essays. In all, 68 essays were submitted, and winners were announced at a Victory Over Violence coffee house gathering at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice on the evening of October 27.

Prize-winning essays on the topic of peace were submitted by eighth graders Zoren Acosta and Paul Rosenberg, both students at the Albuquerque School of Excellence. Many of the adult entrants in the high school category were inmates in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center, and Robert Wilson and Marc Miller submitted the winning essays in this category. Marc had been released and was able to attend and read his essay. Robert's first-prize winning essay entitled "Love's Lessons--What We Can Do to Promote Human Security" and Marc's essay on how kindness can make people more peaceful.

Marc MillerAdult high school category second prize winner Marc Miller reads his essay

Letters were sent to all entrants, praising their work and emphasizing that they can each make a great difference in building a more peaceful world.

Marge Allen of the local SGI-USA group commented, "The teachers asked us to do this essay contest again after the first one we did last year. They are looking for creative ways to combat the bullying in the schools and the personal violence many students face each day. We are so happy to be able to help provide this creative means of empowering young people in Albuquerque and we plan to continue this contest in the future."

[Adapted from the October 19, 2012, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA and SGI-USA Albuquerque; photos courtesy of SGI-USA Albuquerque]