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Hyla School to attend MLK holiday events in Seattle

(L-R) Hyla eighth graders Emma Spickard, Sofia Marck, Jonathan King (seated on couch), Natalie Adams and Emma Covert create signs to carry in the march Monday.  - John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo
(L-R) Hyla eighth graders Emma Spickard, Sofia Marck, Jonathan King (seated on couch), Natalie Adams and Emma Covert create signs to carry in the march Monday.
— image credit: John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo

On Monday, millions of people around the nation will pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King.

Those who attend and work at Hyla Middle School will be among those millions.

The entire school, including faculty and some parents, will take part in the Martin Luther King March and Rally in Seattle.

According to Thomas Weber, the head of Hyla Middle School, he is happy to have the entire school take part in the march.

“When you look at the reason for the Martin Luther King holiday, it’s considered a national day of service,” he said. “We want to connect it to not taking the day off, but making it a day on.”

Weber also feels the experience will be beneficial for the students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real life situations.

“If they get a hands on experience, that helps to deepen the understanding of those issues they talk about,” he said. “A march is something that’s a big part of American tradition as citizens and the kids will get that first-hand experience of that great American tradition. It’ll give them the experience of feeling empowered to act on their ideas and values.

“It also gives them an increased awareness of the diversity in the larger community in the Puget Sound region,” Weber said. “I’ll be very curious to see what the kids see and witness in the march. We’ll all be learning in that regard.”

Taking part in the march is the start of a three-day study course in what the school calls its “mini-term.”

Each year, students focus on a social issue and get actively involved in learning more about it. Past topics have included Earth Day and homelessness, where the students assisted people in Bremerton, made a documentary film about the issue and raised money for the Housing Resources Board.

As part of their studies on this year’s issue of “ensuring freedoms for all people,” students watched the PBS documentary “Citizen King” about the last five years of King’s life.

After the march, they’ll get into groups and discuss six student-generated topics. The mini-term wraps up with a school-wide presentation on student action plans on each issue.

This year’s mini-term is led by English teacher Kim Trick, who is a member of the Seattle Martin Luther King Celebration Committee. She got the idea from a fellow teacher who has taken part in the march before.

“We looked into it and we decided this would be a really cool experience to do as a school,” she said. “The idea for us to have a mini-term around Martin Luther King Day is primarily because it is a school that focuses on service. For a school that honors service the way that we do, it seemed really important to do something on a day when it means the most.”

She hopes the kids can learn from the experience and maybe motivate them toward working for a particular issue that they feel passionate about.

“Just to have that experience is the cornerstone of this school – to try new things out and experience it,” Trick said.

Emma Spickard and Kanen Rose, two eighth graders who will march, are excited to take part.

“I don’t get to do something like this often, so it’ll feel like I’m standing for something,” Rose said.

“I’m excited to come together as a school to represent one cause,” Spickard said. “In mini-terms, sometimes I feel as a school we’re all helping, but you’re really stuck in one group. So to come together for one thing is a big thing.”

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