A Perry Hall Middle School student received honors in a recent Black History Month essay competition, according to a news release from Baltimore County Public Schools.
Patrick Krack was the second-place winner in M&T Bank's 27th annual "Champions of Courage" contest, which asks participants to write about their personal heroes that shared with them the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Krack wrote about the support he received from his basketball coach Terry Bryant as a white student joining a predominantly African-American squad:
"Coach Terry Bryant is my Champion of Courage. When I first became involved with AAU basketball, it was obvious I would have to prove myself to my new teammates. There I was, an apprehensive white kid joining a predominantly African American squad.
To Coach Terry, however, I was welcomed as a part of the family, it didn't matter that my skin color was different.
Coach Terry took the time to develop my skills and showed me how easy it is to see beyond color."
Shara Miller, of Arbutus Middle School, claimed first prize in the competition. Her essay was:
"My parents are the strongest people I know. They have taught and instilled in me acceptance and equality. Being gay, they have gone through not being accepted by their peers. Through everything they stuck by their beliefs and stayed strong. They never planned on having kids, but when they saw my brother and I needed help, they did not hesitate. I have taken from this courage and responsibility. Through them I have learned the importance of acceptance. For that they will always be my champions of courage."
Krack received $300 for himself and $500 for Perry Hall for his win, according to the release. Miller was awarded $500 for herself and $1,000 for Arbutus.
More than 3,000 students in grades six through 12 entered the competition.
Eight other Baltimore County students were named among the 20 finalists: Briana Beach of Lansdowne Middle School, Breann Falby of Milford Mill Academy, Khalid Hill or Milford Mill Academy, Matthew Kirschner of Pikesville High School, Divya Koindala of Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, Harris Malik of Woodlawn High School, Yasmine Mzayek of Loch Raven High School and Eunji Park of Loch Raven High School.