Joliet Junior College students Kayla Storme and Brian Herrera were recently recognized for their work in the statewide Gandhi/King Peace Scholarship Essay Contest sponsored by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA).
The contest asked students to write an essay structured like a business letter. Students were required to express the peaceful messages of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and list goals for how these leaders’ techniques could relate to issues today.
Storme’s essay made it to the state level. The overall winner of the ICCTA contest has not yet been announced. At the JJC level, Storme received first place and Herrera received second.
Storme, of Plainfield, chose to focus her essay on gang violence and her ideas about how to stop it.
“There are so many things intertwined with the sociology of gangs themselves, and it is an ever-growing problem in the United States,” Storme said. “I felt I had some interesting ideas that could help in brainstorming for a solution to gang violence.”
Storme was happy that JJC offered this essay contest because she learned how to make a strong argument – by thinking about what the opposition would say.
Herrera, of Crest Hill, on the other hand, kept his essay local. He wrote about organizing an event at JJC that would bring together all different walks of life, and on April 26, his event will become a reality. Several student organizations such as Latinos Unidos, the Black Student Union, GLOW, and more, will all come together as individuals, and share stories of what it’s like to walk a day in their shoes in an event called “Sonder.”
As he researched Gandhi and King for his essay, Herrera said he was glad JJC offered the essay contest because he learned a lot about non-violent protests.
“I learned that non-violent protests achieve more progress than violence does,” he said. “There are so many methods we could use to achieve peace. It upsets me to know that many people resort to violence as a means to a solution.”
Storme, who is studying biology and pre-pharmacy at JJC, received a $100 JJC Bookstore gift card for first place. Herrera, a political science major, received a $50 gift card to the cafeteria for second place. Members of the English and World Languages Department and the Interim Dean of Liberal Arts, Roxanne Munch were in charge of judging the essays. The office of Bette Conkin, interim vice president of Academic Affairs, donated the gift cards.
For more information about the Office of Student Activities, contact Pam Dilday at email@example.com.