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Henderson-Hopkins eighth-grader Dannell Eggleston was named Grand Finalist of the Modell Lyric Dream Big Essay Contest, awarded April 4 at Baltimore’s Modell Lyric Performing Arts Center. Alice Delanoy and Tyler Hines, two students from Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School, were also among the 10 finalists chosen from across the city.

Eggleston’s winning essay, which she recited at a special ceremony hosted by WMAR-TV reporter Shannel Pearman, highlighted her determination to become a lawyer and fight for the rights of the people of Baltimore City.

“I want to influence others to stand up and be themselves and fight for their rights for what they believe in, even if it takes time,” Eggleston said. “Becoming a lawyer is imperative… It will have an impact on my community because growing up as an African American in Baltimore is challenging.”

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a more equitable society and to commemorate the 50th year since his assassination, the Modell Lyric announced the contest in January, inviting Baltimore City middle and high school students to write a 300-word essay about an important dream they have for themselves, their family, and their community. From among hundreds of essays from across the city, the contest panel chose 10 finalists, each of whom received $100 and the opportunity to recite their essays at the ceremony.

Tameka Suber, president of the Henderson-Hopkins Parent-Teacher Association, joined other parents, families, students, and other guests in celebrating the finalists at the event. “What better way to memorialize the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination by showing the dream lives on,” she said.

Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School (Henderson-Hopkins) is part of a unique university-community collaboration to create a high-performing school serving a diverse, mixed-income community of students and families. The school is operated by the Johns Hopkins School of Education in partnership with Morgan State University’s School of Education and Urban Studies.

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