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Aroonrassamee Wongkeaitaroon BHS junior essay contest winner

In a captivating first person account, 15-year-old Boardman High School junior Aroonrassamee Wongkeaitaroon described her experience coming to America from her home in Bangkok, Thailand.  Click Here to Read award winning essay. 

Her essay won the Ohio Civil Rights Commission  2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest for juniors across the state.

Three years ago, Aroonrassamee, or ‘Yok’, as she is now called,  sat in an eighth grade classroom at Boardman Glenwood Junior High.  Now, a BHS AP English student, she writes about the transition between the two worlds.  Quoting from her essay, “Six months beforehand, I had left Thailand where I was born and raised equipped with a British accent, high expectations, and tears in my eyes as I boarded the hostile plane.”

The prompt for the essay was:  When you were faced with a challenge or setback, what did you do?  Did it bring out the best or the worst in you?  How did you keep moving forward?”

In two and a half pages, Yok describes her journey so clearly, that the reader feels like they can almost hear her voice narrating the story.  This year, Yok, along with 6 other essay winners from grades 6-12,  will be doing just that -- recording themselves reading their essays for a virtual award ceremony expected at the end of February. 

“While we have always invited the winners to Columbus to receive their awards, Covid has changed the plan this year,” said Mary Turocy, Director of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at the OCRC.  “We received hundreds of remarkable entries from students attending schools throughout the state...We thank everyone for participating and for your dedication to the teachings of Dr. King.”


The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is pleased to host the annual statewide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Essay & Multimedia Contest. This contest is intended to encourage students to reflect upon Dr. King’s life, philosophy, and impact on the Civil Rights Movement and present day America. It is meant to challenge students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of Dr. King in their own way.


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