By SHANNON WATKINS
What do an excommunicated sixteenth century German monk and an African American Baptist minister born in 1929 have in common? According to Pulaski Middle School seventh grade student and second-place essay contest winner Betsy Nall, quite a bit.
“Having the Faith to Stand Up,” Nall’s entry into the ninth annual Martin Luther King Essay Contest, which is hosted by Virginia Tech, compared the life and works of Martin Luther King Jr. with those of his namesake, Martin Luther, who started the Protestant Reformation. Concisely written, Nall’s prize-winning essay was one of over 40 from schools around the New River Valley.
“We had the highest number of entries in the seventh grade division,” said Alicia Cohen, assistant director of Tech’s Diversity Education and Initiatives, making Nall’s success no mean feat.
“Betsy is at the top of her class in academics,” said Nall’s language arts teacher, Amy Gifford. “She was recently awarded scholar of the month at PMS. If there’s a book to be read, Betsy reads it ahead of schedule. If there’s a paper to write, Betsy writes with more depth and maturity than the average seventh grade student. When I found out Betsy had won second place in the Martin Luther King Jr. essay, I was not surprised because her older brother, Sam Nall, won honorable mention in the essay contest last year when he was a seventh grader. She and her brother are both very bright students.”
Nall will be recognized at the Martin Luther King Community Brunch on Monday, Jan. 20 in the Latham Ballroom at The Inn at Virginia Tech. Winning essays and posters (a separate component of the contest) will also be on display from Jan. 21 to Feb. 15 on the second floor of the Squires Student Center at Tech.