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Column: Commemorating MLK through Service

Both T.C. Williams campuses — King Street and Satellite at Landmark — worked together on Saturday, Jan. 19, for the National Day of Service and in commemoration of the 57th Inaugural Celebration.

The day started at the TC Satellite Campus with the MLK Youth Summit where students were busy counting, collecting and assembling items for the purpose of putting together emergency first aid kits for the homeless. Donations from the Dollar Store at Landmark, Morning Bishop Theatre (Theatre of Purpose), Dr. Wilson and Ellen’s Boutique made it possible to have the cotton balls, wet wipes, Band-aids, plastic zip bags, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and Q-tips. There were 150 kits assembled by Satellite students early Saturday morning and quotes of the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were placed in each kit.

Discussions about the significance of service projects, education and King’s legacy were led by TC Satellite principal Dr. James Wilson. He shared his experiences of growing up in the segregated South and how those experiences served to influence his life and career choice. The MLK Youth Summit began at the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center and has become an event that brings community members, students and other volunteers together to remember to do service projects that benefit the least fortunate among us. The emergency kits were delivered to the Carpenter Shelter. Thank you to the Satellite Students and staff that worked for hours assembling these care packages for the homeless and they are: Andrew Bangura, Bre Nee Ruffin, Cierra Boyd, Norman Frye, Kris Whitehead, Carlos Custodio, Milton Medrano, Anthony Pullen, Elijah Lomax, Dionna Lundsford, Fahirah Jackson, Dr. James Wilson (principal), Crystal Patterson (lead teacher), Tara Newton (social worker) and Bassil Hashim i(volunteer). Special thanks go to Dr. Madye Henson for being supportive both on and behind the scenes.

THE SECOND HALF of the National Day of Service was held throughout the city of Alexandria at two other sites: Nannie J. Lee and Charles Barrett. The organizers of this successful event which brought hundreds of youth together to create a commemorative book for the First Family were Shawn Thorpe, academic principal at T.C. Williams and director of the Center for the Arts within ACPS and Jason Ellis, program coordinator for ARHA (Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority). There were 52 T.C. Williams student facilitators that helped to engage youth from the community recreation centers and community at large in the creative process of poetry writing, singing and dancing. The student facilitators did a fantastic job and should be commended for their service to the community.

The turnout for the day was impressive and there were other community groups on hand to assist with the day of service. One such group was the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Thank you to all and especially the following: Dr. Sherman (superintendent), Dr. Henson (deputy superintendent), Dr. Wilson (TC Satellite principal), Shawn Thorpe (ACPS), Roy Priest (CEO of ARHA), Jason Ellis (ARHA), Gaynelle Diaz (ARHA), Ms. Nora (ARHA), Ms. Archer (ACPS), Melvin Miller (ARHA board member), Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities and all of the youth that participated. For those that were not specifically mentioned here please blame the omission mistake on the head and not the heart.