Broad Street Books, in cooperation with Selma City Schools, recently announced the winners of their writing contest, “How I Would Make Selma Better”.

The first place winner, Reagan S., received $100. “I think of my ancestors who crossed the bridge and what they went through so that we could have equal rights,” she said. “It is important to keep these ancestors in our memories and to build on their stories.”

Second place winner Jeremiah McGary won $75. “We need to have a new conversation with our students in Selma schools,” he said. “We need to focus less on life on the streets and more on what it takes to be good citizens. I ended my essay with a quote from John Lewis because he is the type of person we need as a role model.

Carlos Carter, third, won a $50 prize. He began his essay with a poem he wrote about Martin Luther King. “People like him don’t show up every day. If Selma uses her as an inspiration, I think we could attract high quality people to our city,” he said.

School Staff Dr. William Powell, Director of Secondary Education; Ms. Kristy Bettis, Library Media Specialist; and Hanna Kraker, Grade 9 English/Language Arts teacher, worked with David Tipmore, owner of Broad Street Books, who endorsed the project.

Participants were invited to submit essays of 300 to 500 words. The winners were chosen by Kraker, who looked for “clarity” and “originality” to guide their selection.

Powell and Bettis expressed their confidence in Kraker. “The way she works with her students is an inspiration to me and to her colleagues,” Bettis said.

Kraker was satisfied with the quality of the trials. “It is a pleasure to honor these three solid students who are interested in success. Through writing, they learn to make their voices and their ideas heard.

Tipmore said he plans to sponsor the contest every year. “I am pleased to be able to offer students the opportunity to formulate their thoughts on how to make Selma a place they can be proud of,” said Tipmore. “These three winners achieved that goal – and more.”

Copies of the essays will be posted at Broad Street Books, 22 Broad Street. The store is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.