DB junior wins MLK honor for community work

Samyuktha Vellaiyan, Staff Writer

“I have a dream,” Martin Luther King Jr. famously proclaimed. Diamond Bar High School junior Melvin Houston took his idol’s message to heart, earning recognition and a $1000 scholarship for entering in an essay competition about spreading King’s legacy.

Houston found out about the essay competition at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Pomona Inland Valley, where Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval introduced the annual scholarship opportunity.

The objective of the scholarship was to commemorate the life and work of King and empower the community through promoting social justice, unity and service. Participants from ages  15 to 19 were asked to answer an essay prompt about how they have continued King’s legacy in their daily lives through community service.

Houston decided to enter the competition because of the connection he felt with King. In his essay, he wrote about the impact he has on the community through his volunteering. His essay included his contribution to the Special Olympics, participation in neighborhood watch meetings and involvement in the election of the Pomona mayor.

“I felt really great about writing an essay on this topic because I have a background sort of like Martin Luther King Jr., kind of like the way I help out the community and just doing little things,” Houston said.

Less than two months after Houston submitted his essay, he received a call from the organizers of the scholarship informing he won the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award. Along with six other winners, he received certificates from the California State Senate, California State Assembly, Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano, the president of the organization and the city of Pomona. He also won a $1000 check in scholarship money on Jan. 24.

“I was honored to be receiving this award because winning an award for the way I represent Martin Luther King Jr. was a dream come true,” Houston said.