Sophie West has been selected the winner of the Kishwaukee College 2019 Gandhi/King Peace Scholarship Contest. West, of Oregon, received a $500 Kish scholarship check along with a certificate of achievement. Her essay was forwarded to the Illinois Community College Trustee Association (ICCTA) for entry in the statewide competition.
The Gandhi/King Peace scholarship began in 2014 by ICCTA. All ICCTA member colleges may enter one student essay in the statewide competition each year. If West’s entry is selected as the statewide winner, she will be invited to the annual ICCTA awards banquet in June, her letter will be printed in the Illinois Trustee newsletter, and she will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
In business-letter format, contestants were asked to outline a plan for a nonviolent response to the problems of hate and discrimination and draw upon the lives and writing of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “The world is made up of very many small communities and they all have little problems,” West comments. With effective communication and active listening, we can begin to resolve problems within our community before moving on to larger, systemic problems, West believes.
In her letter, West draws upon her experience in the service industry to argue how far kindness can go. She also highlights that ignoring discrimination is not an effective tool for dealing with the problem.
An excerpt from West’s winning essay—
Lack of understanding has led to countless murders and wars throughout history. I believe that the true path to peace and equality requires understanding and respectful communication. Rather than attempting to discuss how we can achieve world peace, I believe the focus should be on creating equal and peaceful communities.
To read West’s essay in full, please visit www.kish.edu/iccta.