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Elza Wins Champions of Courage Contest

Ellie Dugan, Staff

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CHS sophomore Nick Elza recently became one of twenty Baltimore-area winners of the prestigious Martin Luther King-inspired Champions of Courage essay contest. The goal of the annual competition is to compose a short, yet impactful, description of an individual from the author’s life who embodies the characteristics of Martin Luther King and shows his morals and values. 

Winners were selected based on language art skills and execution of the competition’s theme, which was to “Salute a positive role model who has touched your life by sharing the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”  

Elza chose former Beatle Paul McCartney as his role model. 

“Paul McCartney was my hero for Champions of Courage. I like the song ‘Blackbird.’  It really showed his view on segregation, and how he was against it,” said Elza, when asked about the rationale behind his entry. 

Elza was surprised that he was one of the winners, especially since there were approximately 3,000 entries for the contest. 

“Yeah, I was very surprised.  I was like, ‘Woah, cool,'” he explained.  

As a freshman, Elza also wrote about Paul McCartney.  In response to having been asked if he had submitted an entry during freshman year, he said, laughing, “Yes, I did.  It was the same one.  Yeah, it was the same one.  I added a comma, and that’s it.” 

As a winner of this competition, Elza is entitled to a prize of $100 dollars and will attend an Awards Reception in early February.  FOX 45, The CW Baltimore, and MyTV Baltimore will broadcast Elza’s recorded version of his description throughout Black History Month. 

 

Here’s what Nick wrote:

 

Paul McCartney displays the guidance of Dr. King in various ways. One way was when he wrote the song “Black Bird” to illustrate the torment of discriminated individuals, and how they should fly away from segregation. McCartney undoubtedly inspired me to treat everyone equally when he and the rest of the Beatles refused to play in front of segregated audiences. This caused many individuals, including myself, to find comfort in his music.

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Elza Wins Champions of Courage Contest