Each year as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Virginia Tech area kindergarten through 12th grade students are invited to participate in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest.

The 2011 winning posters will be displayed Jan. 3 through Jan. 31 in six locations in downtown Blacksburg:

According to Silvia Ramos-Cotton, associate director of Diversity Education and Training in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, “This year 16 schools in the New River and Roanoke Valleys participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest. We have had a consistent increase in participation from year-to-year, which indicates our youth’s desire to reflect on the impact and relevance of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.”

The purpose of the poster contest is to encourage students to think critically about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and develop goals that reflect how they will live out the principles of non-violent social change to address problems they witness in their communities.

Posters are judged on how effectively the artwork expresses individuality through unique ideas; how the artwork illustrates imaginative and meaningful ideas; and how well the artwork relates to the theme.

In 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech titled, “What is Your Life’s Blueprint,” where he challenged a group of students to reflect on how they lived their lives and recommended that they develop a blueprint, or action plan for their legacy. This year’s theme, “What is Your Blueprint ... How Will You Live Your Life?” is derived from that speech.

The poster contest is sponsored by Virginia Tech, the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County Branch of the NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., Black Student Alliance, The Center of Dance Academy, and the Black Organizations Council.

A map of the downtown businesses in Blacksburg displaying winning posters will be posted on the Office for Diversity and Inclusion website.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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