The Martin Luther King Community Coalition (MLK Coalition) in collaboration with the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) and the City of Pasadena presented their annual Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration on Monday, January 18, 2016. Student winners from the essay and art contest read their essays and presented their winning artwork to an audience of over 500 guests. City council officials, PUSD representatives, Tournament of Roses presidents, and community leaders were in attendance to congratulate the students and present them with certificates, trophies, and a cash prize.
The celebration began with a colorful and beautiful performance by student dancers of Sol y Luna, a baile folklórico group led by Gabriela de León. The event also included a variety of other dance and musical presentations, including McKinley Elementary School’s choral performance, “Rise Up with Hope in Your Hearts,” written by and led by teacher, Mr. Raimer Rojas, a dance routine by Eliot Middle School Dance Team, and a dramatic song presented by the Willard Elementary School Choir, directed by teacher, Ms. Edwina Daniel.
First place essay winners Gabriel Madrid (elementary), Ian Macklin Sims (middle school), and Anjali Roos (high school) read their essays in front of hundreds of guests that included their families, friends, teachers, and peers.
Tournament of Roses 2020 president, Laura V. Farber, Esq., who will be the first Latina to preside, was joined by Pasadena City College assistant superintendent and Tournament of Roses 2021 president, Robert B. Miller, gave a special congratulatory messages to the winners of the essay and art contest. Facing and speaking directly to the students, Farmer warmly commended the students for their hard work and for utilizing their creativity and critical thinking skills in interpreting the contest theme. Farber also spoke about Martin Luther King’s legacy of combating hate with love.
Another special moment was the award presentation from the Martin Luther King Community Coalition to McKinley Elementary School teacher, Mr. Rojas, for his continued participation in the MLK essay and art contest. This year, his students won first, second, and third place in the elementary school essay category.
The students’ winning art is currently featured on the homepage of the MLK Community Coalition’s website at pasadenamlk.com and will remain there for the remainder of the year. The original pieces of student art work will be on display at the Pasadena Central Library, located at 285 East Walnut Street Pasadena, CA 9110, from February 1 through February 29, 2016.
The annual MLK Celebration is presented in association with the Pasadena Unified School District, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Aspires West Pasadena, Friends Indeed, Scott United Methodist Church, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority-Pasadena Chapter, and the City of Pasadena.