Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Poster & Essay Contest

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr PosterIn celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Brookings Human Rights Commission sponsors an annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day essay contest for all Brookings County school students in Grades 4-12.

Dr. King was a supporter of human rights and freedoms for all citizens. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated on January 15, 2024. 

These contests are designed for students to reflect on Dr. King’s ideas and the impact on our community through their contest entry.

DEADLINE: All contest entries are due before 5 PM on Friday, December 22, 2023.

PROMPTS: The 2024 contest prompts are:

  • Intermediate School (Grades 4-5): Identify two problems in your school, neighborhood, or community and what you would do to solve these problems. Include a quote from Dr. King and explain how it inspires your solution. [250-500 words; 1-2 pages double-spaced]
  • Middle School (Grades 6-8): Building off a quote from Dr. King, describe how you can help create a more just, inclusive, and peaceful society. How can you work with your peers to make a difference? Identify your own aspirations for your community and what Dr. King means to you. [500-750 words; 2-3 pages double-spaced]
  • High School (Grades 9-12): Incorporating a quote from Dr. King, explore how the principles of justice and oneness can be used to transform our divided world into a united one. Discuss how Dr. King's ideals, philosophy, and principles apply to our collective lives and impact your daily life. What solutions would you offer to promote peace and equity in your community? What would be the roles of young people and adults in implementing your solutions? [750-1,000 words; 3-4 pages double-spaced]

Winners will be notified by January 8, 2024.

  • First- and second-place winners will be invited to read  their essays at the MLK "Marade" at South Dakota State University on January 15, 2024.  
  • Awards will be presented at the Brookings City Council meeting on January 23, 2024. Awardees will be asked to read their essays at the meeting.

Essay Contest Information (PDF)

Essay Judging Rubric

Award Winners


2022 Winners Press Release (PDF)

Poster - Grades K-1

Poster - Grade 2

Poster - Advance

Essay - Middle School 

Watch Awards Presentation 2022


2021 Winners Press Release (PDF)

Essay - Middle School 

Essay - High School

Watch Awards Presentation 2021


2020 Winners Press Release (PDF)

Poster - Grade 4

Poster - Grade 5  

Essay - Middle School 

Essay - High School