PITTSBURG -- A former student of Black Diamond High School wrote the winning essay for Dow Chemical's 13th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration event.

Bernardo Zepeda's essay was read by his English teacher, Erin McFerrin, at the Jan. 18 event, which also included a keynote address by retired CBS5 news anchor Barbara Rodgers and music by the Mike Rose Quartet. Zepeda, who graduated last October from Black Diamond, an alternative high school in Pittsburg, was unable to attend because he was working.

McFerrin and Black Diamond principal Joe Alvarez accepted the award, which also included a Kindle Fire tablet, on behalf of Zepeda. Invited community members, public officials and Dow employees attended the event held at the Dow cafeteria.

This is the fifth year of the essay contest for local high school students. This year's theme asked students to think about a significant event in their lives and how being silent had, or could have had, an impact on what happened.

Two other awards were also presented. Frances Wilson, executive director of the East Bay Junior National Society of Black Engineers, received a community award. Ivan Elizondo, a mechanical engineer at Dow, was the recipient of an employee award for supporting diversity in the workplace.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.



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