‘I Have A Dream’

Students At Washington Middle School Reflect On Iconic MLK Speech

Students in Hope Hill’s fifth-grade class at Washington Middle School wrote “I Have a Dream” speeches on Friday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Students were tasked with writing speeches about things they want to change and then create posters displaying their dreams. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

Fifth-grade students at Washington Middle School celebrated and researched Martin Luther King Jr. in correlation with Monday’s holiday by writing their own speeches.

Students in Hope Hill’s fifth-grade class read about different aspects of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

“We talked a little bit about how Martin Luther King Jr. had different religious leaders, labor leaders, black organizers all together in Washington D.C. where he gave his speech ‘I Have a Dream’ and why he gave his speech based on the civil rights act, based on segregation and discrimination,” Hill said.

The students also took a deeper look at the historical oppression of black Americans as well as the Emancipation Proclamation and Abraham Lincoln.

“We talked a little bit about freeing slaves and the step in the right direction of having freedom for everyone,” Hill said.

Students’ speeches are pictured. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

After researching the “I Have a Dream” speech and Martin Luther King Jr., the Jamestown students were tasked with writing their own speeches.

In their speeches, students were instructed to write about aspects of the world, the nation or the school they would like to change.

“We talked about the different parts of his dream and about where he was hoping to go with his ideas and thoughts by ending segregation,” Hill said. “Then we branched into today where they had to come up with something that they’ve seen in the news, heard in the news or heard their parents talk about, something they felt strongly about, if they had a speech what their dream be?”

A few of those dreams from the students included people being nicer around the world, equal wages for the identical positions, eliminating bullying, eliminating drug use, supporting animal rights and economic assistance programs.

After their speeches were written and edited, the students created posters to showcase their dreams.

“The goal of the project was for them to understand the history aspect of (the speech),” Hill said. “His speech was so important and what we’ve gone through to get where we are, but also for them to think about things they would like change too.”

Hill said occasionally younger students aren’t asked about their feelings on big issues around the world or in their community. She said the project gave them an opportunity to do so.

Hill also talked about the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and its teachings in school. She said it’s important for younger students to learn the nation’s history, good and bad, and to understand why certain people act the way they do.

“It’s just important for them to know our history and how we got to where we are today,” Hill said,” and why people are treated the way they are.”