MLK Day Brings Community Closer Together

Local News

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream continues to live on in the eyes of America’s youth.  Monday’s "Spirit of Service" Prayer Breakfast at Hallowed Hills in Zanesville reminds students of the value of an education, something the late reverend often preached about.

"One of his legacies that he wanted to lead us in was for us to strive for excellence, and these students are an example," said Co-Chair Kathy Brantley.  "They’re in sports, they’re involved in the community, but yet they’re striving to do their very best in school, and they’re continuing their education so that they can live a better life."

Some of our area’s top scholars were recognized for their academic achievement and contributions to the community.  Brianna Burke is double-majoring in business and economics at Muskingum University, but she still finds time to volunteer.

"My younger brother has Down Syndrome, and he has inspired me to go out into the community and interact with all different types of people with disabilities," said Burke.  "I think it’s great.  They light up the world."

Each student received a $500 scholarship to help cover the growing cost of tuition, textbooks and other college expenses.

"It’s money that they can use toward their education," said Mayor Jeff Tilton.  "Their parents don’t have to go out and work for it.  They can get it, get their education and give back to the community."

"It’s very important, because I am a working father," said Zane State College student Kevin Hill.  "I still have three kids living in my household, so it helps out tremendously."

"It actually feels really great, because I was afraid I was going to skip this quarter and maybe not even go back," said Ohio University Zanesville student Winston Turner.

The dinner table is naturally a place where people gather and share ideas, and even though breakfast was being served, events that bring people closer together make Zanesville a better place to live.

"We have to work together," said Tilton.  "This is our community – black, white, democrat, republican, whatever you want to say, it’s our community, and if we’re going to make it stronger, we have to work together."

Working together is what changed the world, and King would likely crack a smile if he had the opportunity to watch a diverse group of talented students take one step closer to reaching their full potential.

"I think that people are more aware of what he actually stood for and what his goals were," said Brantley.  "I think because they realize that he stood for something that they also believe in, it makes it really easy to put on a program like this."