Although President John F. Kennedy died many years before she was born, 13-year-old Teriana Ward could not wait to enter the student essay competition about the president after it was announced at her school. His legacy and commitment to racial equality still inspire Teriana, who attends one of two schools in Dallas named after Kennedy. Teriana’s essay came in first place, on Wednesday, out of more than 200 students who entered the competition at Kennedy-Curry Middle School in southern Dallas.
The eighth-grader said in an interview, “Out of all the presidents, I like him. I learned from him to treat all people the same, no matter their color or how they act.” The award ceremony drew many Dallas leaders, including Superintendent Mike Miles and Mayor Mike Rawlings. Teriana and her classmates will also attend a commemorative event at Dealey Plaza Friday, where Kennedy was assassinated exactly 50 years ago.
The essay competition was conducted by the President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Foundation and the school district. Teriana said in her essay that Kennedy’s ability to inspire people paved the way for many undertakings such as creating the Peace Corps and sending the first man to the moon. She wrote, “He was a remarkable president who inspired future generations.”
Superintendent Miles, and others who grew up in the 1960s, recalled Kennedy’s impact on them during the ceremony. “I remember not just that day but that decade. It was a decade of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy,” said Miles. “So many other leaders talked about what America could be and should be.”
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