Three students from Sisters Academy of Baltimore (Maryland) were honored to receive the top three awards in a middle school essay contest during Loyola University Maryland Field Trip Day in fall 2021. Five Baltimore schools were invited to participate in the Field Trip Day by submitting essays and then attending a Loyola Women’s Basketball game, where the winners were announced. The first-place winner was Khali Howard, grade 8. Aaliyah Matthews earned second place honors and Dalon Hanks was recognized for third place. 

The essay question? How can we make the world a better place? Excerpts from their prize-winning essays are below.

From Khali Howard’s essay:

We, as a human race, can help the environment by changing our use of products that hurt the world around us. We can stop using products that its company tests on animals. We can also cease littering as it horribly pollutes the earth.

The environment isn’t the only problem with the world though; inequality is also a very big issue. It deeply bothers me that people are automatically threatened less than someone else because of the color of their skin. Society deals people of color a hand with heavier cards, opposed to a white person who has very light cards therefore giving them a better chance at winning the game of life. 

People can change this by keeping a mindset of everyone being equal. I personally wait until actually meeting someone before judging them in any way. Whether it is positive or negative, I believe this is something everyone can do to make the world a better place. 

From Aaliyah Matthews’ essay:

Love. Love is one of the strongest forces among humans. I believe that if everyone loved each other no matter race, ethnicity, sexuality, relationships, even the type of person they were to you in the past. 

Love saves. Love guides. Love protects. Safety, guidance, protection. They give us all a place of reassurance, that’s love. Love is everywhere, love is within everything. Whoever made the paper or laptop you’re reading this out of thought about you, they loved you enough to create something that you could use. Well, not you individually but you as in the world. The world needs love, with love we have no violence, no hate, no pity, no jealousy. Love prevents the world from becoming a scary place for us all. 

This is where the “we” part comes into play. We, as in us all, can love. Think of it like the domino effect. I love you, you love someone else, it goes on and on and on. Now, everyone is loved. No division, no hate, no inequality, no disrespect, no unhappiness all the time. Just peace. Peace and love on Earth. We together can make the world a better place by simply showing love. It takes all of us to change the world, but with a baby step (me writing this essay) we can protect, guide and save the world by doing one simple act. Loving. 

From Dalon Hanks’ essay:

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “Who are the people that are making a difference today?” Well, there are many people. These people don’t worry about money or their age. The first person that comes to mind when I think about this topic is Chetna Gala Sinha. Chetna’s work supports the ordinary women doing extraordinary things in their lives. Chetna worked through many hurdles to create India’s first bank for rural women. She as well didn’t have much but ended up making a big difference. She is one of many people who make a difference. 

The next person I would like to talk about is Dietra Norton. Dietra is a very busy person. She has six children. She had her first at just 19 years old but that didn’t stop her. She continued by striving for the best. She made sure her first three children were doing well in school; she even did extra hours at work just to provide extra for her children. In 2020 she gave birth to triplets (all girls). She tackled many challenges and continued to provide the best for her family and smile when she didn’t have to. By doing this she showed her children that anything is possible. Her oldest daughter, Dalon, made sure to remember this and tries her hardest to be prepared and positive. I am proud to say that Dietra is also my mother.

All these people are very important and a great example of why you should spread kindness and make a difference no matter what age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion or how much money you have. Thank you for listening and have a blessed day.