Oak Ridge fifth-graders celebrate MLK

Banks and government offices closed Monday to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but students in the Frenship Independent School District were in class, some of them learning about the civil rights leader’s life.

In Susan Pendergrass’ fifth-grade classroom, students watched a video of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Later, they wrote a few sentences about their own dreams.

“I think it’s very important for the kids to talk about how they chase their dreams,” said Pendergrass.

Pendergrass encouraged the students to talk about how they will treat people in their futures, as well.

The fifth-grade teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary School said students have been learning about black history and its effect on American history since they returned to school after the holidays.

“I take this as an educational opportunity to learn about his (King’s) importance,” said Pendergrass.

With pictures of famous black Americans hanging on the wall, as well as a large selection of books about black Americans, she said she uses their stories to talk about history and the Constitution.

Two of her students, Jayden Pendergrass and Jacob Eugenis, both said it was unlikely they would celebrate King’s legacy if they had the day off from school.

At school, Jayden said, he has the opportunity to learn about King. (Jayden Pendergrass is not related to his teacher.)

Eugenis said learning about King at school gives students the opportunity to celebrate his life and deeds.

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