Linden-area Elementary Students Celebrate the Life of Dr. King

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In the spirit of Doctor Martin Luther King’s efforts to give back to the community, some students from Hamilton STEM Academy did not stay at home Monday. WOSU reports instead, the students honored the legacy of Dr. King by learning about his hopes for the country and how to use some of his ideals in everyday life, even as children.

Carzel Betton is nine years old. While he may not be able to deliver Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech as eloquently as King, the fourth-grader does not struggle to understand the significance of what’s considered, by many, the best and most important speech of the 20th Century.

“Little black boys hold hands with little white boys and little white girls,” Betton said.

And Betton’s dream?

“The same thing as Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Betton was one of about thirty Hamilton STEM Academy students who took part in an MLK Day camp.

Grace Burkholder helped coordinate the event. She’s a corps member with City Year Columbus, a program with AmeriCorps. Burkholder said City Year looks to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech as a guide for its mission. She said the idea of the camp is to teach the children about King’s ideals and how they can relate to them. But corps members break it down for the kids one activity she described teaches patience: students have to carry a ping pong ball on a spoon through an obstacle course. “It’s about teamwork and getting the job done correctly, not necessarily the fastest, and also encouraging each other,” Burkholder said. Another activity focuses on creating peace in the classroom that is. City Year’s Kate League explaind.

“Today we’re taking a look at some of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ideals. So they’re going to be making their classroom rules based on his ideals. So you know, dignity, justice, equality,” League said.

While the children study Dr. King’s dreams and ideals, they take time to consider their own. Burkholder said they’ll create a field of dreams to be displayed at their school.

“They’re going to put a dream that they have on the flower, and it’s supposed to relate to non-violence, something that they can do for their community specifically so that they can see that even in second grade their actions affect their community,” she said.

“I want no more fighting, and more helping and stay together,” one girl said.

“I had a dream of world peace,” a boy remarked.

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