Scotty the Bear Blue and Gold

Middle School Essay Contest

Education to Change the World

This essay contest is open to all middle school students in Riverside County School Districts. 


Essay Prompt

Share your thoughts about the ideas expressed in the quotes by Marian Wright Edelman and Marty Castro below.  Use your essay to demonstrate how you will use your education to change your community, society and/or world. What will be the indelible mark you leave behind?

In your essay, be sure to provide specific examples from your own life. Include insights, and personal reflections. Consider the impact of your actions, the value of learning through service, and the importance of fostering a sense of empathy, compassion, and responsibility towards others. Your essay should demonstrate critical thinking, empathy, and a genuine passion for community engagement and education.


Marian Wright Edelman
“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” 
-Marian Wright Edelman


Marty Castro
 “When you give someone an education, it changes them irreversibly; it transforms their life and it changes their community forever.”
-Marty Castro




Due Date: Friday, March 22, 2024.
Minimum 250 words
Maximum 350 words
12pt. Font


Finalists will be invited to participate in a zoom interview with the UCR team in early April.


All three winners and their families will be able to visit campus and have lunch with the UCR School of Education dean!
First place winner will receive a $200 prize
Second place winner will receive a $75 prize
Third place winner will receive a $50 prize


Marian Wright Edelman is an American attorney and activist for civil rights and educational justice for all children. Edelman founded the Children’s Defense Fund, an organization that works to make sure that schools are equitable and that they have the resources they need to help all children succeed.

Incredible fact: Marian received the Presidential Medal Freedom Award in 2000. This is the highest civilian award in the United States!

You can read more about Marian Wright Edelman’s incredible contributions to education and her community here

Marty Castro is an American attorney from Chicago, Illinois. Castro is the co-founder of New Futuro, an organization that helps Hispanic/Latina/o families as they pursue college. In 2011, Presiden Barack Obama appointed Marty as the Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Incredible fact: Marty Castro is the Chair of the Board for the National Museum of Mexican Art.

You can read more about Marty Castro’s incredible contributions to education and his community here

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