For the past three years, Georgia College’s Office of Inclusive Excellence has hosted a breakfast in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that showcases work by local school children.
The 3rd annual MLK Community Breakfast will be Friday, Jan. 18, in the Magnolia Ballroom at the Student Activity Center. The event has quickly grown in popularity. This year, about 180 people are expected to help celebrate King’s writings and applaud this year’s winners. Students K-12 submitted essays, poems, drawings, paintings, dances, songs and video based on King’s 1967 speech, “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?” The speech was given at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a year before King was assassinated.
Students were asked to contemplate King’s powerful oratorical style and message of transformational change.
“Dr. King sets out ways for us to reach our full potential in life,” said Jennifer Birch, coordinator of education and outreach in the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE). “He said you are somebody, and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are—you count. And you can actually make an impact in your community, in your society and in the world at large.”
“At this moment and time in this country,” Birch said, “his voice in this speech needs to resonate in our community.”
Georgia College partners with the Milledgeville Baldwin Chamber of Commerce for the contest and breakfast. University President Dr. Steve Dorman attends, along with Milledgeville’s mayor, city council members and Superintendent of Baldwin County Schools Dr. Nora Price.
Entries are judged by a rubric, according to grade level. Schools selected their best entries to submit for the contest, and four winners were chosen from that pool. Winning students come to the breakfast with their parents and read excerpts from their writings, perform song or dance and explain artwork. Each are given a certificate and trophy.
In addition to student work, another person will be honored this year whose life exemplifies what King meant by “blueprint.” Cellestine Hill broke the barriers of race in 1964 as Georgia College’s first African American student. She passed away in 2008.
“Her life is a true example of what you can do if you live with purpose,” said Dr. Veronica Womack, chief diversity officer at OIE. “What we really wanted students to get out of this year’s contest is ‘You can come from Milledgeville and still make an extraordinary contribution like Cellestine Hill did.’”