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The 2008 Chicago Defender Bud Billiken King and Queen Contest contest required participants to write an essay on “leadership.” Following are the essays written by the winners of the competition, who now make up this year’s Royal Court.

The 2008 Chicago Defender Bud Billiken King and Queen Contest contest required participants to write an essay on leadership. Following are the essays written by the winners of the competition, who now make up this year’s Royal Court.

King Jordan Norwood, Age 12 “I have a dream,” was quoted by the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also stated, “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well.” These words have inspired me to strive for excellence. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is truly my hero. I thank God for Dr. King, his historical dream that continues to live on. Yes, his dream lives on through me. I am a high achiever. I have the spirit of excellence and I have an elevated mind destined for greatness. I have read and been told numerous times how Dr. King fought for equality and justice during his life time for my generation’s future. I will be the best that I can be. While Dr. King recited, “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well,” he went on to add that “if you can’t be the sun, be a star.” I believe that I am that star. I am a winner just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am too a king.

Queen Nyaree Patten, Age 9 There is this awesome person I know, who I want to be just like when I grow up. She is a teacher who enjoys what she does. Encouraging me is one of the things she enjoys doing. She also likes working with children. Selfless giving is another thing that she does often. As well as always making sure I have what I need. My heroine not only teaches, but she also attends schools to better herself. I would like to be like her because she inspires me to do a spectacular job. The person who I admire most is Dijonna Durham, my mom! I love her so much!

Prince Andre’ Elizia, Jr., Age 10 Have you ever had someone that you admired or looked up to? This person made you pay attention and think about what you wanted to be in life. That’s how I feel about my hero, Senator Barack Obama. I remember last year, when I was over my grandpa’s house listening as Obama made his announcement to run for president. My grandpa laughed and said a Black man will never be president. At the moment, I wasn’t too sure how that made me feel. There are so many people around me saying this and that about having a Black man as president. But for me, I think Obama’s presidential nomination has encouraged me to do better in school and to be a leader and not a follower. I also think his message about “change” describes my future generation because times are changing, and there’s no limit on what can happen! Who knows, maybe we will have five or six Black presidents by the time I get old! As a young Black man, Barack Obama’s historical nomination has encouraged me to reach for my dreams and conquer my goals. He has also inspired me to believe in myself and others will too.

Princess Keiara Richmond, Age 10 My mother Andrea is my hero. I picked her because she’s strong and positive. Mothers are supposed to meet their children’s needs, but she goes over and beyond. She’s a teacher. When I visit her job, the children are all over her, and sometimes they call her mommy. I am a cheerleader, and my mom never misses a performance even when she is tired from working all day. I asked to be in a beauty pageant; when I lost, she hugged me and said maybe next time. My brother had a hard time in school last year. My mother cried and fussed, but she remembered to say to him every morning do your best. When my birthday comes, my mom can only afford to get a cake and some ice cream, but I begged for a party. Last year, she must have saved because she gave me the best pamper party ever. She even lets me have sleepovers. I am going to continue to work hard to make my mom proud of me, and one day I will be rich and take care of her. My mom will always be my hero.

Lord Bryon Smith, Jr., Age 10 This essay is dedicated to my great granny Rose Lee Smith because she was a true hero to me and many more. Rose Lee Smith was born February 27, 1922 in Drew, Mississippi. She was the youngest of 12 sisters and brothers. From a very young age she had many things to overcome such as poverty and racism to name just a few. She even had to drop out of school in the sixth grade to work and help her family in the field. At the age of 21 after her mother and father died, my granny packed her things and headed to Chicago with no money to start a new life. When she got to Chicago, she moved to a small town house project on 51st and Calumet. Life in Chicago was tough especially since she was a single mother to 8 small kids. My granny worked hard to make sure her kids did not get involved with the gangs and drugs in the projects. She also always helped anyone who was in need of advice, a place of food or just a place to stay. She always helped me with whatever I needed like homework. Even though she only got to sixth grade, she always said school was important and because of that, I am an A-B student. I remember right before my granny died, I asked if she would make me a cake for my birthday (she made the best cake ever), and she said if I live to see it. Well she didn’t get to see my birthday but me and my granny’s 9 kids, 20 grandkids and 30 great grandkids will never forget her smiles, her kisses, her hugs, her kindness, her love and her chocolate cake. I love you granny. You are my hero.

Lady Annyce Brackins, Age 11 Rosa Parks is my heroine because she is the mother of the Civil Rights Movement. I began learning about Rosa Parks in kindergarten. She has always interested me because she was an ordinary person like me who became extraordinary to the world. Rosa Parks left work one day very tired. She decided to sit in a seat on the bus where Black people were not allowed to sit. When a white man asked her to get up, she refused, saying that her feet were tired. As a result, she became the mother of Civil Rights. Today, all people of color can sit wherever they want on the bus. Today all people of color can go to college, find a great job, and become a great leader just like Rosa Parks did!


Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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