Jared Atchinson wasn’t born when civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King marched for equality way back in the sixties. But for this young man, learning about the tireless work of this iconic leader was enough to evoke the passion in him to speak eloquently of how King impacted his life and that of society.
Seventeen year-old Atchinson’s essay - “How Dr. Martin Luther King has impacted my life” won the first prize and a scholarship from Nassau County, during the recent MLK Day celebration at a reception in Westbury, Long Island.
The thespian revealed the emotions he felt being the only African American student at W. Tresper Clark High School in Nassau County - a predominantly white school, where he said he sometimes felt lost.
“At first I questioned my presence there, but after I began to adjust and adapt to the very place I felt doubt, said his essay, I realized I didn’t have to fight for my place on the bus, I didn’t have to worry who I socialized with, nor did I have to worry about people giving me perplexed looks because I am African American.
In fact Atchinson wrote that the reason he adjusted so quickly, and did all the things he wanted to do, was because, “Dr. King fought to give me a future so that I would not have to fight to fit into society where I am just as intellectually, socially and physically capable as any other human being.
“Dr. King’s success and accomplishments that were granted to him from his various work efforts such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, has profoundly given me the pride and diligence that I carry with me today,” wrote Atchinson.
“Writing an essay takes time, patience and most importantly passion,” said the young lad.
The eloquent son of Indo-Guyanese and African-American parents impressed his English teacher so much so, that the educator encouraged the young scholar to enter the competition.
This brilliant student who beat out 44 others in the county to win the top spot, expressed his love for writing, a medium he said that shows his raw passion and his innermost feelings.
However, Atchinson confess that although “I have quite an affinity for writing, my true passion is medicine, I aspire to become a medical doctor, but I will still keep writing in my life said the future medical professional, who looks forward to studying molecular biology when he enters college next year.
His determination and drive to always be successful at whatever he does, is evident in the way he approach life.
Aside from reading, Atchinson finds the time to socialize and play video games. In addition, he gives back to the community by volunteering with Amnesty International and the Red Cross.
The Key Club and the school newspaper also experience the many talents this whiz kid has to offer. “My advice to other students is to read and publish, this will help them to create their own world.
“Meeting new people, and helping others are key elements to improving one’s life, also.”