BRIDGEPORT—Earlier this year, Bridgeport middle school-aged students were invited by Fairfield University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration Committee to write an essay of 500 words or less on the topic: “As we embrace the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., how would you act to address and eliminate a problem caused by racism, injustice and/or inequality within your own community?”
This week the Celebration Committee announced that Mariela Aca, a student from Ann Marie Donnelly’s 8th grade class at the St. Augustine campus of the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport, won second prize in the 2019 Fairfield University/CT Post Essay Contest. Two other students in Donnelly’s class, Sierra Dufane and Brendy Xochicale, won honorable mentions.
An excerpt from Aca’s winning essay reads, “I am a Mexican immigrant….I am here legally….I am not a drug dealer, a rapist, a lazy bum or a criminal. I am just a 13-year-old girl with hopes and dreams. I go to school and study hard. I want to get a good education. I want a chance like everyone else. I want to finish high school and get into a good college. A chance to become a nurse or teacher. Not everything that you hear about Mexican immigrants is true.”
Aca feels strongly that people need to stop these assumptions. “I can start by preventing some myself…I can abstain from making jokes about stereotypes. When I hear others teasing or bullying someone based on their race, nationality or skin color, I can stick up for them.”
As the Second Prize winner, Aca will receive $150 and her essay will be recognized in the Connecticut Post in late January or early February. All three students are invited to a celebration dinner at FFU on Wednesday, January 30, and they also have been asked to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Youth Leadership Academy the following day at FFU’s Barone Campus Center.
The Catholic Academy of Bridgeport has four campuses in the city of Bridgeport: St. Andrew, St. Ann, St. Augustine and St. Raphael. The comprehensive academic curriculum and nurturing environment strives to help all children in PreK-8th grade develop their God-given gifts to reach their fullest potential. The Academy educates 900 children of diverse faiths and ethnicities, and educates the whole child: body, mind and spirit. Tuition is reasonable and financial aid and scholarships are available to those who quality. For more information, call 203.362.2978.