One of the highlights of the virtual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration held on Jan. 18 was the celebration of the essay contest winners.

More than 80 essays were submitted from Caldwell County High School and Caldwell County Middle School students. Students were asked to express how they felt about how King would respond to the events happening in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple protests on racism and the election.

Almost all of them cited various quotes from King or used the six principles that he lived by.

This year’s MLK Day essay contest winners were:

• High school: Elizabeth Martin, ninth grade, the daughter of Joe and Tina Martin; Katy Trimble, 11th grade, the daughter of Ben and Lisa Trimble; Carter Whittington, ninth grade, the son of Shane and Jenny Whittington.

• Middle school: Elijah Thomas, sixth grade, the son of Brock and Malissa Thomas.

The winners read their essays as part of the virtual program, the sixth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Program for Caldwell County. This year marked the second year for the program to feature an essay contest.

The program’s organizing committee extended gratitude to those who participated in this year’s essay contest and anticipated reading the essays in next year’s program.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Program organizing committee included Anne Bannister, Molly Boyd, Gale Cherry, Pat George, Paulette Gray, Pat Hayes, Beth Kanipe, Geneva Malone, Lisa Moore, Barbara Paulnot, the Rev. Donna Webster and the Rev. Jonathan Webster.