Rose Graham, of the Controllers 4-H Club, recites a poem in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. at the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, hosted by Volunteer Starkville in conjunction with Maroon Volunteers. The event took place at the Starkville Sportsplex and included several games, activities and learning opportunities for both children and adults. Photo by: Micah Green/Dispatch Staff
January 22, 2013 10:18:03 AM
Volunteer Starkville Director Jamey Matte pronounced Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event a huge success.
"Things went great, we had about 200 to 250 people involved, including 50 volunteers," she said.
The event, which was put on in conjunction with the Maroon Volunteer Center, featured family-friendly games, activities and learning opportunities, something neither organization had tried on Martin Luther King Day before.
Matte said this year she really wanted the focus to be on engaging the kids of the community with not only fun activities, but some history, too. She thanked her volunteers for succeeding in that category.
"We have had a ton of kids playing out here," Matte said shortly after the event's end. "But the trivia has been remarkably popular, too. We had two great, long rounds of trivia today, and the kids got really involved."
"It is so important, especially for the youth to know about the ones who blazed the trail," said Stedmond Ware of the Maroon Volunteer Center. "It's something I care very deeply about, Dr. King and his legacy, and I really want to pass that on."
A school supplies drive benefiting Oktibbeha County was also a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The drive started last Wednesday, but Matte said she had not had a chance to check the numbers, although she expects the response to be very positive.
The city held a number of events celebrating the late civil rights leader, as did Mississippi State, which held its 19th annual Unity Breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in a ballroom at the Colvard Student Union.
The breakfast included an appearance by keynote speaker Major General Augustus L. Collins, adjutant general of Mississippi. MSU President Mark Keenum and Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman also spoke at the breakfast event.
During the breakfast, awards were presented for an essay writing competition. Starkville High School junior Yolanda Kelly took home top honors and $1,000. Ashley Claytor, a senior from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, placed second, while Ian Hurley, a sophomore at SHS, took home third place.
Kelly was asked to read her essay to those in attendance at the breakfast.
"The dream of Dr. King has not only opened opportunities for me, but for my family as well," Kelly read. "The legacy of Dr. King's dream survives today."