by Jacob Schwartz
Winners of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest presented their essays Friday, in the little theatre, C-block. The first, second and third place winners read their entire essays to the audience.
Sophomore Julia Moss begins her essay, which one first-place in the contest, by telling of an encounter with her great uncle in a laboratory. Her great uncle was Dr. Judah Folkman, a revolutionary researcher of cancer treatments.
In the laboratory, Folkman taught Moss about a cancer treatment he created, which is called anti-angiogenesis blocking. It cuts off the blood supply to tumors.
Soon after Folkman revealed his treatment in 1961, Moss explained, scientists rejected Folkman’s proposal. But, Folkman was not phased. “He explored every criticism,” she read.
Now, anti-angiogenesis is a common cancer treatment for patients around the world, and has saved many lives.
Second-place winner Dan Smith chose to write about his mother, who was jailed during the South African apartheid for having connections with rebel forces. Towards the beginning of the essay, Smith describes his mother’s arrest in vivid detail. He also shows how his mom showed courage and stayed positive in prison.
When she was arrested, Smith wrote that she said to the officer, who handcuffed her, “I’m five feet tall; do you really think I would try to run away from you?”
During her three year sentence, she passed time by reading a book on the Holocaust, as well as the Bible.
Smith’s mother was the first political prisoner of the Apartheid to be released from prison with a suspended sentence.
Boston philanthropist Leonard Zakim was the subject of Steve Kelly’s third place essay. Kelly revealed, through the essay, many of Zakim’s important achievements in Boston’s Jewish and African-American communities.
According to Kelly, Zakim knew that “the relationship between blacks and Jews in Boston was deteriorating.” So, in order to strengthen this relationship, Zakim organized the first citywide seder for Jews and blacks together, but only six people showed up for the first seder.
However, Kelly said, Zakim did not give up, and a few years later, 650 attended the citywide seder.
The four sophomores who received honorable mentions, Alex Feit, Kristi Monaghan, Isabel Wilker and Simon Wolfe, gave concise summaries of their essays.