Date: Jan. 12, 2012
Student Wins City's Prodigies for Peace Contest
Markus Smith Wins Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest
Everett Community College student Markus Smith won first place in the City of Everett’s 2012 Prodigies for Peace essay and art contest in the adult category for his essay about why he volunteers with the youth of Snohomish County.
Smith, 25, was honored Jan. 12 at the annual diversity partnering reception hosted by the city to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Smith, a first-generation college student, said King has inspired him to make a positive change. After lacking positive influences during his teenage years, he’s now concentrating on being around productive people and making a difference in his community.
“They say that we are in need of more black role models who can relate to the youth of today,” he said.
In addition to attending school full-time and working part-time, Smith volunteers with Junior Achievement, the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County where he mentors a 10-year-old “little brother.” He got involved because he saw a need.
“I am currently in the process of assisting in creating a ‘symphony of brotherhood’ throughout my community and this begins with my peers and youth,” Smith wrote in his essay. “I have decided to dedicate my free time in showing the youth that there are positive Black men in the world with whom they can relate to and learn from.”
This is the first year the annual contest has been opened up to adults.
Karena Hooks, director of EvCC’s Outreach, Diversity & Equity Center, encouraged Smith to enter the essay contest.
“I haven’t won anything like that before,” he said. “You always get notice for messing up and doing wrong. It felt good to have some positive recognition.”
Smith, who grew up in California, moved to Washington with his mom during his senior year of high school. The transition from the urban streets of San Diego to “laid back” Washington gave Markus a breath of fresh air. He graduated from Mariner High School six months later.
After some time off from his education, Smith enrolled at EvCC in 2010. He plans to earn a transfer degree in business administration and then pursue a four-year degree in business or marketing.
“I’m going to go to school; I’m going to get a career and have a family,” he said. “I want to be a philanthropist and a humanitarian.”
Read Smith’s complete essay here.