Students kick off Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday celebration

Friday, January 13, 2006

Local students got an early start celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with vocal and instrumental performances at the Osage Community Centre Thursday night.

Organizer Debra Mitchell-Braxton said the music-filled Martin Luther King Birthday Extravaganza is tied to local school's official recognition of King's birthday. "In 1999 some of us petitioned the school to make [King's] birthday a protected holiday in the local school districts," she said. "Before that it was used as a makeup day if there had been snow days."

Educational programs

Mitchell-Braxton said almost all the local schools now have educational programs in the week leading up to the holiday.

"Some have art contests, essay contests or there are announcements over the morning intercom, this event gives them a chance to prepare something to perform" she said. "The schools are really coming on board, and the kids, they just love it."

The enthusiasm was apparent Thursday night. Highlights included the Central High School fiddle team's performance of the Civil War anthem, "The Battle Cry of Freedom," and "God Bless the USA," sung by the Central Junior High Choir.

Elizabeth Harris, 18, a senior at Central High School wowed the audience with a vocal tribute that just seemed to fit the legacy of Dr. King. "I don't even know the name of the song," she said. "But it's something I've sung in church and I thought it would be nice. Dr. King is such an inspiration to me."

The citywide celebration of Dr. King's birthday continues with the memorial breakfast Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the Osage Community Centre. The Rev. Ron Webb will give the keynote address.

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