An American Hero

Martin+Luther+King+on+the+steps+of+the+Lincoln+Memorial+when+he+presents+%22I+have+a+Dream%22+speech.+%0Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.theatlantic.com%2Fphoto%2F2015%2F01%2Fremembering-martin-luther-king-jr-in-photos%2F384635%2F
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An American Hero

Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he presents

Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he presents "I have a Dream" speech. http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/01/remembering-martin-luther-king-jr-in-photos/384635/

Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he presents "I have a Dream" speech. http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/01/remembering-martin-luther-king-jr-in-photos/384635/

Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he presents "I have a Dream" speech. http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/01/remembering-martin-luther-king-jr-in-photos/384635/

Natalie Benoit, Co-Editor

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Morgan Freeman once said, “Dr. Martin Luther King is not a black hero. He is an American hero.” Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister who also worked as a civil rights activist in the mid 1950s, until his assassination in 1968. Although Martin Luther King was born on January 15, at New Milford High School we commemorate his life’s work on the third Monday of the month, this year on January 16.

Every year New Milford High School honors the role model MLK is by organizing a school assembly. The assembly this year, organized by the student council, included short videos, skits, speeches, images and an overall presentation dedicated to Dr. King as a hero. The commemoration is broken up into two periods; the same assembly is presented twice but with different students both times. Members of the student council focused on a theme of heroes and how everyone is capable of becoming a hero like Martin Luther King Jr, by “speaking and acting when no one else will.”

Karen Minaya, student representative for the Board of Education and student council member, arranged the two short skits that were displayed during the assembly. In response to why she chose to help organize the short performances, Minaya said, “I wanted to help out with the skits because I am involved with the drama program and wanted to experience directing and assembling the skits.” She also discussed that “the purpose of the first skit we chose was to briefly remind and educate students on iconic figures of American history during times where Martin Luther King, Jr. was greatly needed.” The historical figures included were Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Each character was acted out by volunteering students Haley McAveney (’17), Vianca Soriano (’17), Justin Malveda (’17), and Russel Johnson (’18).

The second skit acted out had Martin Luther King Jr. as a young student who internally struggles with the idea of being a hero. This was demonstrated with an “angel and devil on the shoulder” bit. With Vianca Soriano as the angel, Russel Johnson as the devil, and Justin Malveda as Martin Luther King.

Another student council member, Colin Hollis (’18), explained that his speech focused on “how change happens with progress in our way of thinking.” When asked how he felt while giving his speech to the student body, he described it as “a nervous feeling, but I felt as though it needed to be said. Many students speak out about how they feel but never take action on those feelings. Especially when it comes to being a hero.” As corresponding secretary to the student council, Hollis also stated that “the Charlie Chaplin video we presented was the best aspect of the assembly because his words were so powerful and true to the message we were trying to convey to the audience.”

Several teachers also disclosed that this year’s commemoration was perhaps “one of the best MLK assemblies” because the skits and videos conveyed the message of being a hero very well. As one of the most successful traditions at NMHS, hopefully next year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly is just as effective as this year’s presentation.

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