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Monfredo: Students Express Their Thoughts at MLK Jr. Ceremonies

Sunday, January 22, 2017


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. ... MLK,Jr.

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive and well in Worcester this week.  Last Saturday Worcester State University held its annual Youth Breakfast Celebration to a capacity audience.   Then, on MLK Jr. Day Quinsigamond Community College held its 32nd annual event to an audience of over 800 people and honored the work of Dr. King as well as the commitment  of Dr. Gail Carberry, president of Quinsigamond Community College, who will be retiring this year.

The overall theme at the events was remembering the “Dream” of Dr. King and moving forward in an attempt to assist others and to espouse the importance of non-violence in our community.  

 The rhetoric and strong statements made by President elect Trump  during and following the 2016 election were addressed in the  essays and poetry contributions by various students.  At the students’ breakfast the poems selected as winners were powerful and sent a message to its readers.  Here are samplings of their work… 

Annalisa Allan, grade 8 student at Forest Grove Middle School,  wrote…” Our peace is an illusion from the poem Blue and Gray, to the speech “The Gettysburg Address” to get rid of discrimination was our only request; for the Civil War was such a cliché’.”

Drusilla Wilson, grade 8 at Goddard Scholars Academy, wrote…”A wise man once said, hatred paralyzes life, love releases it but what would he do if he was here to witness this?”

Kiana Alliance, grade 7 at Goddard Scholars Academy, wrote… “A great man once said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”  And to that I say we can’t separate ourselves we don’t have a big enough boat.”

Millicent Oppong, grade 11 at North High, wrote…” The sense of urgency and political correctness has vanquished in order to get rid of the lingering traces and new beginnings of any type of degradation.  So why is it so inexplicably different for some to tolerate the idea of equality? … Ignorance and validation.”

Steven Thomas Rivera, grade 12 at Burncoat High, wrote… “No lives matter if they take the life from another, Cain had been cursed for slaying his brother. In the war against racism, the victor should be all of mankind, Not by the tone of his skin, but the quality of his mind.”

These are just a sampling of the many poems written by the students.  The award winning poem winners are as follows: Han Nguyen, Mairead O’Sullivan, Peter Menchin,  and Alexis Boston of Holy Name High School… Daniel Mbusa, Millicent Oppong, Brian Le, Tracy Frimpong, Adanna Duanys and Gabriella Mederios of North High… Chantielle Capman of Claremont Academy… Meshia Brooks of South High… Hussain Bhatti of Worcester Technical High School… Jayda Cesar and Mariah Acquaye of Doherty High… Nicole Podlipec and Brooke Podlipec of St. Peter Marion… Annalisa Allan of Forest Grove Middle School…  Boa Nan Ngo, Clarise Liu, Abigail McDermott, Samual Posner, Lily Enguist, Drusilla Wilson, Kiana Alliance, and Isabella Archambault of Goddard Scholars –Sullivan Middle School.

At the ceremony at Quinsigamond Community College winning essays and art work by the students were recognized at the event.  Kylie Barbour, a seventh grader at Holy Name High keyed in on the most recent events with her essay. Here is part of what she wrote: 

“As Americans we should all want to treat every single person in the world with kindness and respect no matter their race, religion, social-economic status, or sexuality.  If you listen back on some of Dr. King’s speeches, the things he talked about are very similar to the struggles we face today.  Racism and violence toward people from other ethnicities is still persistent today just like it was in King’s time.  Things like pinning ourselves against one another, and picking sides over silly matters are things that have never improved.  So, shouldn’t we want to die for the same rights Dr. King was willing to die for?... We need a generation that finally puts an end to racism and to every other problem in our world that has yet to be solved…”

Winning essays selected were Kylie Barbour and Angela Kwebiiha of Holy Name… Frances Fernandez of St. Mary’s… Julie Nguzen of St. Peter Central Catholic Elementary.

Individual Art winners selected were TroyJ. Munroe, and  Ava Kelly from Worcester Arts Magnet and Ellie Adams from All Saints Academy.   Art Group winners were Izzy Caprioli, Malak Laallami and Gabrielle Mora from Flagg St. School and Leia Hernandez and Nicole Hejia Lopez from Grafton Street School.

Both events were peppered with great soloists and outstanding choruses.  The message from many of the speakers was all about living the dream of Dr. King, Jr. by all of us following his example of caring for others.


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