Schoolkids Keep King's Dream Alive

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

STAUNTON -- Schoolkids in Staunton today helped keep Dr. Martin Luther King's dream alive, by celebrating his "I Have a Dream" speech.

"He wanted to hear the bells of freedom ring across America," said fifth-grader Berk Hughes.

And today he would have.

McSwain Elementary in Staunton celebrated the anniversary of Dr. King's speech by joining in the nationwide bell-ringing and learning about Dr. King.

"He wanted segregation to be over with," said fourth-grader Elaena Evans.

"He was not afraid of what the consequences would be," said fifth-grader Caio Macedo.

The children took to heart the message Dr. King preached, in the way only children can.

"If you're not treating people equally, the other person that you're not treating equally won't feel very good," said fourth-grader Kaleah Johnson. "It's just not good."

The school commemorated the speech with bells playing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at 3 p.m.

But the bell-ringing was about more than just a melody - and the lesson, about more than just Dr. King.

"If you're black or white, it's just a skin color. It has no meaning at all," Berk Hughes said. "All that matters really is our character."

"Now I know a little more about him - a lot about him - so it was pretty cool," Kaleah Johnson said.

"He taught me that everyone should be treated equally, no matter if you're white, blue, black, green," Caio Macedo said. "I'm proud to be who I am."

Today, people let freedom ring from the hallowed grounds of Washington, D.C. to the hallways of McSwain Elementary.

Alan Kirkdorffer, the school improvement leader, said a lot of what people learn about relationships they learn in elementary school, so it is important to teach Dr. King's message at an early age.


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