We have a Dream, Inspired by Dr. King

Written by Deb Palmer

Ellie winning first prize. Photo by D. Palmer.Ms. Brown’s and Mr. Levy’s fifth grade classes at Maplewood Elementary took part in the Heritage Council of Austin’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratory Contest. The prompt this year was, “If Dr. King were alive today, what would be his message of hope for the world?”

With the guidance of their language arts teacher, Ms. Brown, the kids researched and wrote speeches. It is hard to hear the students give their speeches without a smile and a tear. After all who wanted to, gave their speeches in front of judges at Maplewood, five finalists were chosen: Philip, Gracie, Sarim, Ian, and Ellie. They all dressed up and went down to the Carver Museum for the evening event to compete against children from other schools. Maplewood swept the prizes — two of our students, Philip Metcalf and Gracie McDaniel, tied for second prize, and Ellie Greene took first prize!

The three Maplewood winners with their proud teachers, Ms. Brown and Mr. Levy. Photo by D. Palmer.

The three Maplewood winners with their proud teachers, Ms. Brown and Mr. Levy.

The first prize winner has the honor of giving her/his speech in front of the rally prior to the MLK March on campus at UT on the morning of MLK day!  MLK Day dawned crisp and cold, and brilliantly sunny.

After some thoughts about how far we’ve come – and how far we have left to go – from UT President Powers, “Lift Every Voice” from the UT Gospel Choir, Ellie’s three minutes of inspiration, and one more offering from the chair of the African/African Diaspora Studies Department, the march began. What an experience it turned out to be! Ellie’s teacher called her Super Ellie. May she lead us all one day.


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