Yak’s Corner

This student magazine geared toward kids in elementary and middle school will be delivered to classrooms quarterly and will also be available online.


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The 2017 Ford Freedom Award Essay Contest for Grades 4-8
Brought to you by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services in cooperation with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Detroit Newspapers in Education (DNIE) partnered with the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, and the Charles Wright Museum of African American History to bring another quality educational program to Michigan Schools. The theme is “Talents That Unite: How African Americans bring diverse communities together across America.” The program includes a 16-page student supplement and a 12-page online teacher guide. Students will explore the ways African-Americans have brought diverse communities together through their passions and talents. Click here to view the program.

In addition, students in grades 4-8 were invited to submit essays on the following topic:

  • Passion - n. - a strong feeling of excitement or enthusiasm for doing something
    When people have a passion for something, they can change the world. But our world is a challenging place, with people from diverse backgrounds who have different experiences and world views. Your passion might be expressed through a talent or skill you possess, an activity you enjoy, a cause you support or a creative idea you have that would make a positive difference. In your school or community, how could you use your passion to help bring people from diverse backgrounds together?

Identify an African American who shares the same passion with you. Write about how and in what way you would use that passion to help build understanding and respect between people who are different. Perhaps you have an idea for an event, publication or performance that would bring together people from different races, religions, or nationalities. How would this make your community better? What do you hope to accomplish?

Essay Contest Winners

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, essay contest awards were presented during the Ford Freedom Award Scholar’s Lecture held at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. Twelve essay contest winners and more than 1,000 students from Detroit area schools heard a presentation by African-American Disney animator Floyd Norman, followed by Q&A.

Hundreds of essays were submitted, which were first judged by a team of Detroit area teachers and then by a committee representing the Charles H. Wright Museum, the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Detroit Newspapers in Education. Twelve finalists were selected who were asked to present their essays to the committee. Finalists received either a class pizza party and a certificate of merit or a scholarship, a Ford Freedom Award Medal and a certificate of merit.

The following received scholarships, Ford Freedom Award Medals and certificates of merit:

Mohammad Muntakim – 8th grade, Davison Elementary, Detroit: 1st Place $5,000 scholarship
Avery Roberson – 5th grade, Bates Academy, Detroit: 2nd Place $2,500 scholarship
Madisyn Link – 8th grade, Trinity Lutheran School, Clinton Township: 3rd Place $1,000 scholarship
Jillian Lesson – 8th grade, West Hills Middle School, West Bloomfield: Honorable Mention $250 scholarship
Nafisa Choudhury – 6th grade, Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck: Honorable Mention $250 scholarship
Jackson Huff – 8th grade, Trinity Lutheran School, Clinton Township: Honorable Mention $250 scholarship

The following finalists received class pizza parties and certificates of merit:

Madeline Beattie – 8th grade, Trinity Lutheran School, Clinton Township
Erykah Boynton – 6th grade, Bates Academy, Detroit
Fatehatul Bushra – 6th grade, Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck
Samantha Green – 8th grade, West Hills Middle School, West Bloomfield
Indiana Jones – 8th grade, Bates Academy, Detroit
Skylar Summey – 6th grade, Saginaw Arts and Science Academy, Saginaw


Yak's Corner Favorite Book Character Contest
Sponsored by Michigan K.I.D.S., Inc.

Thank you teachers and students for taking the time to enter the Yak’s Favorite Book Character Contest. We received wonderful entries from all of our young readers. Thank you for reading, writing and yakking with us!

The 2017 winners are:

FIRST PLACE
First grade: Geethakshita Orampadu, Susick Elementary School, Warren Consolidated Schools
Second grade: Yesinia Lewis, Emerson Elementary School, Fraser
Third grade: Josephine Peterman, Sheridan Elementary School, Petoskey
Fourth grade: Natalie Tallu, Susick Elementary School, Warren Consolidated Schools
Fifth grade: Jimmy Marshall, Sheridan Elementary School, Petoskey
Sixth grade: Landa Terolli, Larson Middle School, Troy

SECOND PLACE
First grade: Akshita Akthi Narayanan, Susick Elementary School, Warren Consolidated Schools
Second grade: Aylin Odessho, Emerson Elementary School, Fraser
Third grade: Braeden Flynn, Sheridan Elementary School, Petoskey
Fourth grade: Jackson Chapin, City School, Grand Blanc
Fifth grade: Lauren Cole, Sheridan Elementary School, Petoskey
Sixth grade: Farrah Alaowad, Larson Middle School, Troy

THIRD PLACE
First grade: Makena Huismann, West Side Christian School, Grand Rapids
Second grade: Claire Diggan, Emerson Elementary School, Fraser
Third grade: Miles Keys, Sheridan Elementary School, Petoskey
Fourth grade: Erica Velzen, West Side Christian, Grand Rapids
Fifth grade: James Alpi, City School, Grand Blanc
Sixth grade: Tyler Diehl, Clifford Smart School, Commerce Township

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Leah Chambers, Salk Elementary, Fraser
Emma Tank, Sheridan Elementary School, Petoskey
Roarke McKeown, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods
Skye Wilson, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods
Glenn Steien, Island City Academy, Eaton Rapids
Molly Versluis, West Side Christian, Grand Rapids
Luke Ingalls, Sheridan Elementary, Petoskey
Greta Putnam, Sheridan/Central Elementary, Petoskey
Madelyn Gullion, City School, Grand Blanc
Namaa Mokhtar, Beverly Hills Academy, Beverly Hills
Amina Safiedine, Beverly Hills Academy, Beverly Hills
Vanessa Ellis, Mark Twain Elementary, Roseville
Lake Liao, Larson Middle School, Troy