Schools and classrooms throughout Bend-La Pine Schools are honoring the legacy of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in conjunction with the holiday, Monday, January 17. From reading books related to King and his work to writing their very own “I Have a Dream” speech, students around the district will be learning about King and his legacy.
At Summit High School, members of the school’s Social Justice Club created large banners to hang throughout the hallways at Summit, each featuring a different Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. The students, who volunteered for this project, selected quotes that meant something to them.
“I hope when people see the signs, they feel welcome and feel comfortable in their own skin,” said Brandon McCalpine, eleventh-grader.
Delaney Skuse, eleventh grader, says it was important for the club members that the messages come from students, not from administrators or teachers. “It feels different when it comes from peers. We want to flood the hallways with positive messages about Martin Luther King.”
Jason Richmond, twelfth-grader, found one of King’s quotes to be really meaningful: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. “It’s about speaking about what you believe is right and not staying silent about things that matter.”
Other quotes chosen by students include: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “what are you doing for others?’”; “The time is always right to do what is right”; and “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
“I hope these signs help people feel it’s a safe place for everyone and that the school is centered for equality,” said Luke Bents, eleventh-grader. He likes being part of the Social Justice Club, which now has more than 50 members. “It’s really inclusive and creates a space for everyone at Summit.”
Luke says the club aims to create a space for everyone at Summit and offers students tools to help. He recalls the club hosting a workshop last year that taught students how to interrupt acts of racism, while staying safe.
World language teacher Jylan Maloy is the advisor for the club, which has outgrown her classroom due to its popularity - so they now meet weekly in the library. She says the students drive the mission of the club.
“I’m so proud of these students for creating a welcoming community where they can share their voices,” said Maloy.
Other Summit clubs and groups also helped in creating the signs, which are expected to stay up in hallways through February in honor of Black History Month.
Ben-La Pine Schools will be closed Monday, January 17 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.