Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly celebrates more than the man

Students from Oroville Elementary School sing in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. They are accompanied on the piano by music teacher Jeff Gee. Photo by Gary DeVon

Students from Oroville Elementary School sing in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. They are accompanied on the piano by music teacher Jeff Gee. Photo by Gary DeVon

OROVILLE – The Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly at Oroville High School last Friday celebrated more than the man or even civil rights, it also delved into the history of women and the vote, as well as all voter’s rights.

The assembly started with an introduction by high school students Heather Galvan and Naomi Peters, then students from the elementary school presented a skit on the “Symbols of Freedom” while other sang under the accompaniment of music teacher Jeff Gee. Peters and Galvan presented a history of the holiday and that was followed by a history video by high school students Caleb Whiteaker and Alex Kelly. Fellow student Lily Castrejon read King’s “I have a dream” speech. Galvan and Peters made a presentation on Women’s History, Peters also presented a Women’s History video she made with Kelsey Hughes.

Tony Kindred was the guest speaker and he spoke about the King Holiday, excerpting from Corretta Scott King’s “The Meaning of the King Holiday.”

Kindred read King’s widow’s words, “This holiday honors the courage of a man who endured harassment, threats and beatings, and even bombings. We commemorate the man who went to jail 29 times to achieve freedom for others and who knew he would pay the ultimate price for his leadership. Martin Luther King kept marching and protesting anyway.

“Every King Holiday has been a national ‘teach-in’ on the values of nonviolence, unconditional love, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation, which are so desperately needed to unify America… The holiday provides a unique opportunity to teach young people to fight evil, not people….”

Kindred continued, using Corretta Scott King’s words, “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but above all a day of service. All across America on the holiday, his followers perform service in hospitals and shelters and prisons and anywhere else people need help. It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutor those who can’t read, mentor at risk youth, console the broken hearted and a thousand other projects. All of this for building the beloved community of his dream.

“Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we ‘will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

After Kindred spoke Katy Smith and Nick Perez presented a video on citizenship, followed by a video by Ronel Kee and Connor Hughes. Galvan and Peters then introduced the posters that students had created marking the day and some of the quotes that they contained. They then closed the assembly.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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