Shelby Johnson is the recent winner of the Presidential Essay Contest. Winning first place in the contest not only came with bragging rights but also came with a $1,000 cash reward.
The prompt of the essay was to choose a person who the writer believed impacted the twentieth century in some way. Shelby chose Martin Luther King, Jr., because she feels that he was and still is an iconic figure. Johnson stated, “He sacrificed of himself for a cause in a controversial time. Also, he brought unity to American among people that had not been unified before. His inspiration still inspires people to stand against injustices in their own lives.”
Johnson says that she believes her writing skills are a God-given talent, and she has always loved to write. Another catalyst she believes has driven her writing skills is a middle school English teacher who encouraged her to write. This teacher fueled Johnson’s love of writing by giving her feedback on short stories she wrote. Johnson knows that “this positive attention” helped her with her self-confidence and later helped her to develop her writing skills.
When asked, Johnson thoughtfully stated that MLKJ has impacted her life as an individual by saying that he has influenced her to “emulate those qualities”, and “his example reminds me that we are more powerful when we are unified that than when we are separated.” Johnson is a true leader here on Mars Hill’s campus by leading the Christian Student Movement, and she aspires to be the kind of leader than MLKJ would be proud of. She is also a Student Ambassador, Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society member, Alpha Chi member, Ultimate Frisbee Club member, Zumba instructor, Student Conduct Board member, and a regular attender of Blueprint.
About her time at Mars Hill, Johnson wants others to know that, “Mars Hill is a wonderful place. Through many adventures and memories, I have discovered myself and am ready to make a difference in the world like MLKJ did. I am sad to leave but excited of the journey ahead.” Shelby is a senior English and Spanish major and will be graduating on May 10, 2014.