It was one of the biggest snowstorms of the new year on Thursday, Jan. 4, and while other Charlestown children ran outside to make snowballs and paths for sleds, Ellie Kiernan found inspiration in thinking about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Using the extra time on hand that day, Kiernan crafted an essay about King that her teacher, Michelle Dickie, submitted to the Boston Public Schools for their annual MLK Districtwide Essay Contest. Out of hundreds and hundreds of inspiring entries, Kiernan was one of four kids chosen citywide.
On Jan. 11, she found out she won, and that was quite the excitement.
“In my essay, I thought a lot about the quotes we learned in class that he said,” said Kiernan, a fifth-grader who is 11. “One of his quotes talks about always having to move forward. I wrote that when I’m having trouble and I think of what he said, it inspires me to keep trying at whatever I’m doing and not give up. I thought his quotes were really good.”
Dickie said it isn’t the first time the Warren Prescott has had a winner, and Kiernan is the third that they’ve logged. As part of the program, Kiernan was invited to read her essay aloud at a celebration for MLK on Jan. 11 at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester.
Having participated in her Christmas Play at Church, she was ready for life on the stage.
“I practiced some and for the Christmas pageant at my church, I was the moderator, so I had done something like that before,” she said.
It was Kiernan’s first time entering a writing contest, she said.
However, she’s quite active in many other pursuits, including lacrosse, the school play, soccer and is an usher at her church in Beacon Hill.
She is the daughter of Bruce Kiernan and Suzi Briggs, and her sister is Emma.