Eighth grader from East Greenwich pens winning essay for Gandhi Essay Contest

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KINGSTON, R.I. – May 30, 2012 – An essay entitled “Making a More Beautiful World,” by East Greenwich eighth grader Grace Miner, claimed the top spot in the Gandhi Essay Contest sponsored by the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the URI Honors Program.

Miner, who is 14 and attends Cole Middle School, wrote an essay that focused on Gandhi’s teachings and calls for nonviolence in the face of oppression; and how his work influenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her essay was voted the best of 187 entries, resulting in 22 finalists representing eighth graders from all over Rhode Island.

“Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy led to the emancipation of India’s people and the establishment of home rule. Gandhi inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose nonviolent philosophy led the struggle for equality and justice for African Americans. Dr. King’s beliefs were influenced by reading Gandhi’s work, discussions with advisors who had been to India, and meetings with those who had actually met Gandhi. Dr. King inspired others all over the globe to peacefully advocate for change, to nonviolently resist oppression, and to draw attention to their humanity not only by the righteousness of their cause but by the righteousness of their resistance,” Miner wrote.

At a May 1 ceremony on URI’s Kingston campus, Miner read aloud her essay and received a certificate and a $100 prize. Second–place finalists received certificates and $50 prizes and third-place finalists received certificates and $30 prizes.

Second Place:

o Patricia Alzaibak, 14, of Tiverton, who attends Saint Philomena School.

o Emily Elder, 14, of Barrington, who attends Gordon School.

o Michael Ludwig, 14, of Newport, who attends St. Michael’s Country Day School.

Third Place:

o Danielle Dotter, 13, of Cranston, who attends Western Hills Middle School.

o Sydney Farrea, 13, of East Providence, who attends Sacred Heart School.

A complete list of finalists is below.

The Gandhi Essay Contest Committee included: Business Professor Ruby Roy Dholakia, Writing & Rhetoric Associate Professor Libby Miles, Education Associate Professor Diane Kern, Political Science Professor Emeritus Art Stein, Psychology Professor Charles Collyer, President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Robert Carothers, and Paul Bueno de Mesquita, who is director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. The Readers and Judging Committee included: Dholakia, Mathematics Professor Emeritus Dilip Datta, Miles, Tapati Lahiri, Nina M. Kajiji, Stein, and Visiting Buddhist Geshe Scholar Thupten Tendhar.

The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at URI engages in activities and projects that foster mutual understanding among people, in which nonviolent processes are used to reconcile conflicts and to build peaceful, sustainable and inclusive communities that promote human rights, and economic and social justice for all.

2012 Gandhi Essay Contest Finalists:

Anastasia Paterson, St. Michael’s Country Day, Newport

Beibhinn Anderson, Providence Country Day School, East Providence

Colleen McCauley, Chariho Middle School, Charlestown

Danielle Dottor, Western Hills Middle School, Cranston

Emily Elder, Gordon School, Barrington

*Grace Miner, Archie R. Cole Middle School, East Greenwich*

Haley Medeiros, Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School, Coventry

Isabella Casey, St. Michael’s Country Day, Newport

Isabelle Bolanos, Saint Philomena, Tiverton

Katie Caparco, Chariho Middle School, Charlestown

Katherine Milson, Saint Mary School, Cranston

Linnea Bjornson, Saint Philomena, Tiverton

Madeleine O’Shea, St. Michael’s Country Day, Newport

Michael Ludwig, St. Michael’s Country Day, Newport

Patricia Alzaibak, Saint Philomena, Tiverton

Sydney Farrea, Sacred Heart School, East Providence

Tyler Hickey, Saint Margaret School, Rumfo

Pictured above

Grace Miner, 14, of East Greenwich reads her winning essay in the Gandhi Essay Contest sponsored by the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the URI Honors Program. Photography of all finalists is available upon request. URI Photo by Joe Giblin.