(WMC-TV) - Dozens of students participated in an effort focused on helping break the cycle of violence in homes, schools, and neighborhoods.
Thirteen-year-old Labrairius Maxwell was among 34 finalists participating in the "Do The Write Thing Essay Challenge."
"I wrote about how violence is on the streets, about student violence, about how we need to have more programs in our schools," he said.
Maxwell says he focused on what he sees in his own community and what needs to change.
"I wrote about an essay which should keep young people in school, in education instead of out on the streets getting killed and in jail," he said.
Elmore Park eight grader Sarah Kohl, another finalist, focused her writing on tragic school shootings throughout the country.
"I talked about basically every youth tragedy and shootings like school shootings and gang violence," said Kohl.
More than 800 middle school students from 17 Shelby County Schools submitted essays but only two will get to go on an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. with the District Attorney.
"The purpose is to let kids stop and think about violence and more importantly share with us their thoughts on how we can stop this cycle," said Shelby County DA Amy Weirich.
Kohl says each time there is such a tragedy in this country, she and other students are affected.
"It just, like, disappoints me that, like, children my age and, like, other kids my age would do something like that," said Kohl. "It's just really sad."
The two students chosen to go to D.C. and represent Memphis are Desiree Winns and Chase Woodard.
Weirich says the student's essays will be on display at the National Library of Congress.
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