Iwasaki hosted youth essay contest

Emerson College hosted the What’s My Dream showcase on April 2 in the Iwasaki Library, featuring youth finalists from the Bird Street Community Center’s essay contest. The contest prompt was a painting of President Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. created by three visiting Mexican artists through the “Rediscover Rosarito” project.

Eight students, ages 11 to 17, read excerpts from their essays to an audience of about 20 people. Fifteen-year-old Devin Welch from Cathedral High School in Boston said the painting inspires him to work toward his goal of becoming an engineer, especially as a young person of color.

“When I look at this painting, I don’t see three famous black men,” said Welch. “I see three black leaders who rewrote history for the black community.”

The event is part of a partnership between the college and the Bird Street Community Center of Dorchester to teaches middle and high school students to resolve conflict through communication, said Gregory Payne, associate professor in the communication studies department and project leader.

At the end of the showcase, the judges said they couldn’t choose just one winner—each of the eight students who presented won an expenses-paid trip to Six Flags.