Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards


An entry by senior Johnna Hill, a student in Mr. DeIuliis' Creative Writing class, was awarded Best of School in this year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards competition. Johnna will be recognized at a ceremony held on Carnegie Mellon University's campus on Monday, January 20. CMU professor Jim Daniels visited Mr. Amato DeIuliis' creative writing class earlier this year to introduce the competition and encourage the students to use their experiences to write their entries.

Below is a copy of Johnna's winning entry:


"Just Ask Me"

By Johnna Hill


I can feel your eyes studying me in confusion

Trying to block you out at lunch with my grandparents is angering

Am I some sort of exhibit to you, stranger

I know the racing panic due to the unknown is occurring in your mind

You attempt to ease this

You latch onto any resemblance I have to my white grandparents for comfort

But I know you're not understanding the origin of my caramel pigment

Or how my hair branches out thick with great length and mass

You never come to the conclusion I am biracial, I can tell by your lost stare


In the event someone figures out the puzzle and disapproves I know that stare well

When I'm out in the world I never understand these people

Why's my physical appearance in comparison to grandma or grandpa significant

Trick question, it's not

My outside appearance has no telling toward my stunning character on the inside

It’s a shame it holds so much value, and has the ability to divide so heavily


I never excuse a stare

But the innocent curiosity stare would be my favorite if I had to choose

The reasoning behind it is at least understandable

To every stranger’s stare, I have one simple request for them all

While we share the same space and cross paths

Just ask me the origin of my appearance

Then, you may proceed to compliment my beautiful family


Read more about the awards here:


Congratulations to Johnna and Mr. DeIuliis!

J Hill

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