Sisters from The Gooden School Take Home 3 Honors in MLK Art & Essay Contest

7th and 6th Graders Samina and Elena Forbath

“Looking back at Dr. King’s dreams, what advice would he give America’s leaders today to move the country forward?” was the theme of this year’s essay and art contest sponsored by the city of Pasadena and a host of other organizations, including The Martin Luther King Community Coalition, Altadena and Pasadena NAACP, Pasadena Unified School District, Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Congregations, National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., Gamma Lambda Chapter, Pasadena Tournament of Roses and Aspires West.

The contest was open to students of any school that lies within the district. This year, two students from The Gooden School, a private k-8 elementary school in Sierra Madre, took home three awards during the January 17th celebration of King’s life and accomplishments at the Jackie Robinson Park on Fair Oaks in Pasadena.

The sisters, Samina and Elena Forbath, 7th and 6th graders respectively, took first and third place in the art contest’s middle school division. Samina Forbath also took 3rd place in the essay contest’s middle school division.

The students’ artwork “advice” is pointed in their advice to our local and national leaders. Elena Forbath incorporated phrases into her artwork like “Advice for you leaders: No spending money on war; no war; no high taxes; help poverty” directed to President Obama, Senator Boxer and Governor Brown. Samina’s work framed her advice “from” Martin Luther King to “Dear Mr. President” in a moving patriotic call to peace. (See attached photos.)

The Gooden School’s, Patricia Patano, Head of School commented, “These girls really are models to follow. At the school’s International Day on January 14th, the 8th grade read Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, then the Forbath sisters, whose entries were chosen as winners from over 400 submissions, were acknowledged with a presentation and recognition by Dr. David Jacobs, coordinator of the Martin Luther King Community Coalition.

After Monday’s event, the sisters got a chance to interact with their governmental representatives, and to pose for photos with State Senator Carol Liu.

Truly a day to remember… and girls to remember.


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