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Summerville High School Student Wins Statewide "I Have a Dream" Contest

Emory Holness, a student from Summerville High School, won the statewide "I Have a Dream" 60th Anniversary Student Writing Contest through the South Carolina State Department of Education.

The prompt challenged students to stand in the symbolic shadow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C., and to articulate their own American Dream for our shared future. Chosen from among more than 200 submissions, Emory’s essay beautifully encapsulates a vision for education that transcends boundaries and empowers every student to reach their full potential.

She wrote, "I have a dream that will explode the flames of possibility, shatter the chains of mediocrity, and propel us toward a future where every child's desire for knowledge is fulfilled and their dreams know no bounds."

Emory will be honored in person at the South Carolina African American History Calendar unveiling on November 27, 2023, in Columbia, SC. She will have the opportunity to help the SCDE develop supplemental materials that schools statewide may use during Black History Month.

Emory's Full Essay:

I have a dream that will explode the flames of possibility, shatter the chains of mediocrity, and propel us toward a future where every child's desire for knowledge is fulfilled and their dreams know no bounds.  A dream that is deeply rooted in the hearts of children and teenagers across our nation. I dream of a day in the near future when every young mind is sparked with a passion for learning, when the halls of our schools' echo with laughter and curiosity, and when the pursuit of knowledge becomes a joyous adventure.  I dream of when every youth is hungry to make discoveries of the limitless world around them, rather than mindlessly exploring their technology. 

I dream and pray for our upcoming teachers pursuing their degree for the children of tomorrow. Our teachers find the strength and will to keep up with the modern education system of standardized testing. I dream of a world where classrooms are not confined spaces but blooming bursts of visionary ideas, where teachers are not just paid educators but are mentors and guides, igniting flames of imagination within each young soul. I hope that teachers can become dream nurturers, encourage their students to pursue their dreams and reach for the stars 

I envision a future where the weight of textbooks is replaced by the prodigious weight of dreams, where the pen is mightier than any screen, and where the quest for wisdom is a thrilling journey, not an unenviable task.  

I dream of friends my age that are eager to go to school and just learn. My dream is that school children are not pushed into the popular belief that grades are the only reflection of their intelligence, that I no longer hear the daily shouts of “I hate this place!” or “I understand the content, but my grades suck!” filling the classrooms. One day, our youth will not only tolerate learning but will embrace it with open hearts and thirsty minds. They will understand that education is the key to unlocking the doors of opportunity  

I have a dream that parents will be active parents in their children’s education, walking side by side with teachers, supplying support, and fostering a love for learning at home. Through this collaboration, we ensure that the love for knowledge is nurtured both inside and outside the classroom. 

I have a dream that communities will rally around their schools, offering resources, mentorship, and encouragement to all students, regardless of their background. We understand that when we walk together, we bridge the gaps in educational opportunities and provide every child with a chance to thrive.  

I have a dream that every adolescent, regardless of whether they attend a private, public, or charter school, will have equal access to quality education that prepares them for college and beyond. In this dream, every student will have the opportunity to develop their talents, cultivate their enthusiasm, and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in higher education. I dream of an educational system where teachers will teach and students will learn. We will break down the barriers that limit educational opportunities, ensuring that all children have the resources and support they need to succeed academically and reach their full potential.  

In this dream, the blockades to education crumble, and every child, regardless of his or her background, has access to the immeasurable treasures of knowledge. No child is left behind, and no dream is too big to achieve through the power of education. So let us dream together, work together, and strive together to make this dream a reality. Let us kindle the flames of curiosity, nurture the seeds of creativity, and empower our children and teenagers to become lifelong learners who cherish the gift of education. For in doing so, we will not only fulfill the dream of a generation but also build a better, more enlightened world for generations to come. 

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