King’s ‘dream’ continues

Published 10:55 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

AHOSKIE – The dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is alive and well today, even 41 years following his death.

That fact was evident on Tuesday night at the Roanoke-Chowan Community College Student Services Center where Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS) hosted its annual “Continuing the Dream” program.

While this special night is traditionally set aside to recognize those whose efforts have impacted local education, it was three elementary school students who stole the show.

With the exception of a few family members in attendance, the eyes of total strangers were affixed to the young trio as they each made their way to the podium. There, from complete memory, these youngsters never flinched as they recited their award-winning efforts from a Martin Luther King Oratorical Contest sponsored by HCPS.

The award winners, all from Riverview Elementary School in Murfreesboro, were first-grader Isaiah Cooper along with Kevin Flood and Alliyah Robbins, both second-graders.

Their presentations brought the crowd to its collective feet.

“All the adults who spoke here tonight, including myself, used notes,” said HCPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debbie Harris Rollins. “These three students did not use any notes. They recited their words from memory.”

As is tradition, HCPS did recognize those who are carrying forth Dr. King’s dream, that of equality for all men and women.

“This event serves a dual purpose…that of honoring the trailblazers, those with vision and effort, from our past and to recognize our present-day leaders,” said Frances Peele who directed the program. “We honor those who today have made a lasting impact on our children, our adults and our senior citizens.”

Peele continued, “We also must remember the past of a king – Dr. Martin Luther King – who sought equality among all God’s children. Please remember to always keep his dream alive.”

One of Dr. King’s dreams has been fulfilled, as noted by Hertford County Board of Education chair Ronald Baker.

“A person of color has been inaugurated as President of the United States,” Baker said. “This is an excellent illustration of continuing Dr. King’s dream.”

HCPS Superintendent Dr. Michael Basham presented the Continuing the Dream Partners Awards. They were earned by District 5 House of Representatives member Annie Mobley (awarded to a Community At-Large individual), Nucor Steel (Business, Industry or Non-Profit), Ronald Gatling (HCPS employee) and Shakendra Blount (HCPS student).

Only Gatling and Nucor (represented by Bob McCracken) were in attendance on Tuesday.

“I accept this award with pride,” said Gatling who serves HCPS as its Community Relations Officer and also runs a highly successful summer educational program for at-risk students. “We should always ask ourselves what contributions can we make to our community and to our children.”

On behalf of Hertford County Nucor, McCracken said, “Thank-you from our team members. We are honored to continue the dream.”

Also taking part in Tuesday’s program was the C.S. Brown Student Development Center Gospel Chorus as well as a musical melody by Quentin Powell.