Skip to content

For the First Time, Hormel Foods Hosts Three of the Student Winners of its Annual MLK Essay Contest


Austin, Minn.

Hormel Foods employees commemorate MLK Day and Black History Month with an essay competition for elementary and middle school students from across the country

Three winners of the seventh annual Hormel Foods MLK essay contest visited the Hormel Foods corporate offices today, February 27, at 7:30 a.m., to read their winning essays. The students – Cooper Dorsey from Arkansas, Amanda Rodriguez and Mya Hollingshead, both from Minnesota – claimed the top honors from more than 500 submissions this year. Their visit to the corporate office marks the first time the company has invited essay winners in for a reading.

The Hormel Foods African American employee resource group (HAARG) sponsors the essay competition for elementary and middle school students across the United States. Contestants are asked to write an essay with the theme, “What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Means to Me”.

“We are proud to continue this contest for the seventh straight year and to help children across the country learn, interpret and personalize the messages of Dr. King and what it means to them. There are five winning essays chosen from each school, and today, three of our top-prize winning students will read their essays in front of our employees in Austin. ” said Antoine Destin, HAARG president emeritus.

The competition promotes the value and importance of cultural differences and provides a platform for celebrating diversity. The goals of the program are to promote Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, encourage children to aim high, give them exposure to minority professionals in corporate America and to create a lasting partnership between Hormel Foods and local schools. Elementary schools across the country are invited to join the competition. Since the competition’s debut in 2011, participating schools have increased from four to more than two dozen in 2018.

About Hormel Foods – Inspired People. Inspired Food.

Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenues across 75 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Columbus®, Wholly Guacamole®, Hormel® Black Label® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named one of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the ninth year in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts. In 2016, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary and announced its new vision for the future – Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ – focusing on its legacy of innovation. For more information, visit and