Doing the right thing shaped American history. It launched the nation and shaped African American history and women’s history. It catalyzed civil rights and environmental rights. Doing the right thing is how history plays out every day in the lives of ordinary people. Each year, it inspires Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s  “It Is Always The Right Time To Do The Right Thing Essay Contest.”

Launching the contest on Martin Luther King Day, the visitors bureau invited the public to share a personal story; a special influence of family, friends, ancestors, mentors, and heroes; or a piece of history that fashioned personal feelings, thoughts, or ideas. Essays could be entered in five categories—education, humanity, respect, liberty, and justice with age categories from elementary through adult.

The 2023 winners of “It Is Always The Right Time To Do The Right Thing Essay Contest” are:


  • Teen Co-winners: AnJ’ru Kater and Anjala Kater


  • Adult Winner: Lisa Marie Smith
  • Teen Level 1 (Younger Teen) Winner: Lydia Jones
  • Teen Level 2 (Older Teen) Winner: Kelcie Davis


  • Adult Winner: Jamia Wright


  • Adult Winner: Jamie Clendening
  • Teen Level 1 (Younger Teen) Winner: Emma Schale
  • Teen Level 2 (Older Teen) Winner: Jonathan Davis


  • Adult Winner: Melinda Schwenk-Borrell

Winners received $100 prizes. The public can read the essays online here or request a printed copy of the book by contacting 717.552.2977 or 866.646.8060.