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W.Va. girl, 6, wins prizes for MLK poster, essay

January 21, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

GERRARDSTOWN, W.Va. - As the nation today celebrates the birth of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., little Claire-Elizabeth V. Ford offers her own perspective.

The 6-year-old home-schooled girl who lives in Gerrardstown won first place in a West Virginia Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission essay and poster contest.

Claire-Elizabeth read her essay during a luncheon at the state's Cultural Center in Charleston, W.Va., on Saturday and her poster will be on display at the center for the next several weeks, said her mother, Christine Miller Ford.

The West Virginia Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission sponsors the essay and poster contest each year to youngsters in a variety of age groups.

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Claire-Elizabeth won first place in the essay contest for students in first and second grade, and she won first place in the poster contest for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, her mother said.

Miller Ford said she and her daughter picked up some biographical books about King from a local library as part of the preparation for the contest.

In her essay, Claire-Elizabeth writes about King's key to living in peace - "you have to meet hate with love."

For her poster, Claire-Elizabeth cut out pictures of people's faces and pasted them together in the shape of a peace sign.

The girl said she crafted two of the peace signs in her effort.

"The second one looked better," she said.

When asked if she liked art, Claire-Elizabeth answered with an enthusiastic "Yes!"

About 125 people attended the luncheon, Miller Ford said.

There were 12 essay winners and 13 poster winners, Miller Ford said.

Claire-Elizabeth also is the daughter of Clyde Ford.

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