January 18-21,  2019. Advancing The Dream.
“Everybody can be great… Because anybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2016 MLK Essay Contest

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You could win a $500, $750 or $1,000 scholarship. The 2016 MLK Essay Contest is open to high school seniors attending Arlington schools or residing within the Arlington city limits. Scholarships to help defray the cost of college tuition and books will be awarded to the winning first, second and third place essay writers.


This Year’s Theme is “The Strength to Love: Tough Minds, Tender Hearts.” The theme is derived from Dr. King’s book, “The Strength to Love,” which was published in 1963. “The Strength to Love” explains the central element of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence in short
messages, some of them composed in jails and all of them crafted during the tumultuous years of the Civil Rights struggle. What does having the strength to love mean?

How To Enter

Media Office/Arlington Police Department
620 W. Division St.
Arlington, TX 76011

  • One essay per student. Essays must be original, typed, double-spaced, and must not exceed 1,500 words.
  • Cover sheet must contain student’s name, school, home phone number, address and email address. None of this information should be included in the body of the essay.
  • E-mail essay as a Microsoft Word document attachment to Cheryel.Carpenter@Arlingtontx.gov
  • Essays will be judged on the basis of organization, content, voice, creativity, grammatical structure and overall conformity to the theme.


Entries will be judged in November 2015. Winners will be formally recognized at the Arlington Martin Luther King Jr. Advancing the Dream Awards Banquet on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 and throughout
the four-day celebration weekend. For more information about the MLK Essay Competition 2016, contact Cheryel Carpenter at Cheryel.Carpenter@Arlingtontx.gov or 817-459-5384.