Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Jackie Robinson were among the African-American luminaries who were the subjects of papers students entered in Leo High School’s essay contest celebrating Black History Month.

Terrence Lee Jr. made a less obvious choice. He wrote about the unique bond he has with his father, Terrence Lee Sr., in  a touching and heartfelt way that earned him  the  $100 grand prize as the essay contest winner.

“”One person I’ve had as a perfect role model to look upon each day is my father,” Lee wrote.

“He taught me how to love unconditionally and to become a mature and respectable man at a young age. I was taught how to be a leader and be very independent. Being that my parents were separated, I was always alone. That being said, I saw how both my parents struggle being single and I use this as motivation to be good in and out of school and to fight the stereotype that young black men have to this day.”

Lee, a junior, is an honor-roll student and a three-sport athlete at Leo.

Leo Vice President Michael Holmes coordinated Black History Month events and was pleased with the essay contest submissions.

“We had a number of excellent entries, but Terrence was chosen because it was so well-written and delivered such a powerful message,” Holmes said.

Senior Marquis Williams, writing about the Black Panther Party, was the second-place winner, followed by senior Malik Harris and sophomore Derrick Golden, who tied for third.