RI 8th Grade Gandhi Essay Ceremony Honors Writers

Gandhi winners 2016The Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies proudly presented the 6th Annual Gandhi Essay Awards in a ceremony rocked the campus on May 4, 2016, filling Cherry Auditorium in the Kirk Engineering Building. Congratulations to twenty eight essay finalists who received certificates. You are AMAZING!

The purpose of the Gandhi Essay Contest, which was established in 2010, is to celebrate the life teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and encourage Rhode Island students in Grade 8 to think critically about, personally connect with, and be challenged by his legacy of nonviolence. The essay quote and prompt this year was “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” The judges were simply amazed at the deep thought and personal connections that were made with each essay.

A record number of 360 essays were submitted this year. Each essay was carefully read by two people and scores were given. 28 finalists were selected and read again by a judging committee that reached consensus to select the top 6 essays.

The program began with a welcome from Center director, Dr. Paul Bueno de Mesquita. Tom Patel from the India Association of Rhode Island showed a video about Gandhi and ended with a rollicking spoken word rap that had us all tapping our feet and moving in our seats.

Award certificates were presented by the judging committee: Bob Carothers, Ruby and Nic Dholakia, Tia Lahiri and Art Stein.

Three 3rd place awards with a $50 prize went to: Kieran Gallison and Anna Schnorr of St. Philomena School, and Alexis Weiler from Rocky Hill School.

Two 2nd place awards with a $75 prize went to: Bhagyashree Behera from Ricci Middle School and Rebecca Franko from Lasalle Academy.

The first place winner was Zoe Petrovas from St. Michael’s Country Day School. Zoe read aloud her essay and impressed 150 students, parents, teachers, and principles.

Five students were selected to receive the Gandhi Award for Compassion and Selfless Service to honor students who exemplify the qualities of compassion and service according to Gandhi’s philosophy, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Prof. Ghasi Ram Verma and Bob Carothers presented these prestigious awards to: Haley Benoit, Paige Buckett, Liliana Frowner, Hannah Marley, and Matthew Richards. Congratulations for the good work that you do in your home, school and communities!

The ceremony ended with a group singing of “This Little Light of Mine” led by three 8th grade students. There were many photos following the ceremony.