Spring Street students 'connect the dots' with observance of Obama inauguration, MLK's 'I Have a Dream' speech

At Spring Street International School, Inauguration Day was an opportunity to connect the dots.

The day began with a general assembly during first and second periods that featured a double-dose of U.S. milestones. Prior to watching the inauguration in real-time on satellite feed, students got a glimpse of just how far the nation has come in bridging its racial divide by watching historic footage of Dr. Martin Luther King delivering his "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial some 45 years ago.

With the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president occurring the day after the national holiday honoring Dr. King, Spring Street Director of Operations Jerry Riley said that school officials wanted to try and tie together the past, present and future by placing two historic events side by side. He was pleased with the outcome.

"It's an incredible linkage," Riley said. "I think (the students) were hit pretty strong by the moment. We definitely wanted to make a special day out of it."

The assembly featured poetry readings and refreshments provided by parents, some of whom, along with several teachers, offered personal recollections of the civil rights struggles of the past and thoughts on what Obama's presidency may mean for the future. Such reminders, Riley said, may prove instructive for a generation which in large part accepts racial equality as a place "where we should be."

"It's a very momentous occasion and I think they understand that," he said. "But a number of students commented about America being a young country and a country of change and they're ready to embrace it, and they're excited about moving forward."

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