Release from the Lakota Local School district:
Throughout January, students in the Lakota Local School District have been exploring the lessons of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. by reading and writing about King and his ideas as well as using the arts to express themselves.
The activities will lead up to the observance of MLK Day in various ways, including:
• The Student Leadership Club at Heritage Elementary will highlight King’s contributions during daily announcements. That historical information will reinforce classroom activities focused on MLK Day, which include read-alouds and discussions.
• Fifth graders from Freedom Elementary are writing essays to be submitted to the Southwestern Ohio Education Association on topics related to King. Other students at Freedom will study King’s legacy in their classrooms.
• At Cherokee Elementary, third graders will read and discuss King’s biographical information, then read the book Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. In response, they will write about their goals or ideas with the theme of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
• Second graders at Cherokee Elementary will study a timeline of King’s life, read picture books and view video clips. All activities will culminate with the students creating portraits of King for display in the school.
• In response to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest, students in an afterschool web design group at Lakota East High School produced a website called Contribute Now: Toward Peace and Non-violence. The site features an original video that blends student comments and King’s words and draws parallels between King’s message of non-violence and the school’s peer mediation program.
• Students are invited to participate with their families in the March for Unity in Our Community, which kicks off at noon, Jan. 16, at Union Day School, 8735 Cincinnati-Dayton Road. The half-mile walk ends at West Chester Presbyterian Church, 8930 Cincinnati-Dayton Road. Lunch, donated by local restaurants, will be provided to all participants.
• A community-based Why Bother? Contest, challenged all district students in grades two through 12 to submit artwork, essays or media presentations to answer the question, “Why Bother with Martin Luther King Day?” Younger students crafted posters. Junior- and senior-high students were asked to submit short essays. Group entries from all ages could take the form of media presentations or live performances.
In all, 351 students participated in this year’s contest, according to event organizer Gail Webster. Students’ entries will be displayed as part of the Live the Dream: Our Celebration of Unity event to be held at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Liberty Township at 7 p.m. Monday. “It will be worth a trip just to read all the wonderful ideas that everyone came up with,” Webster said. Musical performances and commentary by senior citizens are also on the program, which is free and open to the public.
Winners of this year’s contest:
• Elementary: Caitlin Jimmar, 3rd grade, Adena; poster titled “Martin Luther King, Jr.”
• English as a Second Language (ESL): Lizabeth Gutierrez Rizo, 7th grade, Ridge Junior; essay, titled “Why Bother with Martin Luther King Day?”
• Special Merit: Charlotte Reed, 7th grade, Hopewell Junior; essay titled “We Should Care”
• Junior High: Marissa Davis, 8th grade, Hopewell Junior; essay titled “Martin Luther King Jr. Essay”
• Senior High: Cindy Duong, 9th grade, Lakota East Freshman School; essay titled “Martin Luther King Jr. Day”
• Grand Prize Winner: Jane Fleetwood, 8th grade, Hopewell Junior; essay titled “Why Bother?”