School District Comes Together To Celebrate Dr. King
In Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, Cheltenham School District hosted a district-wide MLK Day of Service event on January 16th. The event, which took place at Cheltenham High School, brought all seven schools together under one roof and ultimately became a celebration that honored the message of peace and love that Dr. King spread throughout his life.
The day began with a complimentary breakfast buffet in the school cafeteria. Once everyone had their fill, the Day of Service Kick Off Assembly started in the auditorium. Elkins Park School's Ms. Dayna Gibbs-Bowser acted as the Mistress of Ceremonies. She opened with a quote from Maya Angelou that spoke of how ‘love recognizes no barriers.' Next, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Wagner Marseille, gave thanks to everyone running the event. He discussed why he loves Cheltenham School District, indicating how proud he was that “this district can offer this sort of event and bring people together in a way like no other." State Representative Steve McCarter made a special appearance at the event, speaking on how progress has been made but we have a way to go still. He concluded by asking the audience to stand, hold hands with one another, and repeat the words, “I will remember this day, thank you, Dr. King for your dream, which is now my dream.” Senator Art Haywood also appeared at the event to ask everyone to reach inside themselves to be the best they can be. After he spoke, students took to the stage to recite the words of Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Everyone in the audience gave a standing ovation to the students, which was then followed by the EP Thunder Bucket Band and The Pointe Dance Studio performing in honor of Dr. King.
The event continued with school based service activities. Cheltenham Elementary and Glenside Elementary made care packages for the homeless and craft bags for children in local hospitals. Myers Elementary School, Elkins Park Elementary School, and Wyncote Elementary School created breakfast bags for the elderly and assembled meals for Aid for Friends. Cedarbrook Middle School created welcome kits for the incoming Kindergarten students. Cheltenham High School was both on site helping with these activities, as well as off-site painting the walls and doors at Parkway Northwest High School. While these activities took place, there was also a showing of a documentary entitled “Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights”, a Book Reading with Nahjee Grant, a performance from the AJ Dance Studio. The service event ended with an MLK Day birthday cake celebration, complete with a rendition of Happy Birthday sung by all participants. Overall, the event showed that in a world with much violence and hatred, we can all come together to celebrate a man who spoke of peace and unity between all people of the world. Joy Woodsjones, one of the volunteers for the event, had this to say when asked ‘What does this day of service mean to you?’ “For me, it means that nothing should be taken for granted on a day like today. My grandmother lived through years of segregation and discrimination and felt the pain that we’ve heard a lot about today. So because of this, I happily celebrate and give my time to serve others on Dr. King’s birthday.”
Click image for MLK Day slideshow.