VI students celebrated for walking in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Leading in the light of Dr. Martin Luther King.

“His dream might be a little different than mine but in the same way I still want to make a difference in the same way he did,”  Nichel Daniel a student at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School said.

Nichel Daniel was the only student selected from Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in St. Thomas to receive the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Award. That means she represents through her service and work the values and vision of Martin Luther King and she isn’t the only student being recognized.

Eight students total were celebrated during a special Shabbat Service at the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas  just days before the Martin Luther King holiday. It happens every year to highlight the hope in the young people of the territory.

“We have to pay more than lip service to the ideas of the youth and the future,” Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach said.

The Virgin Islands Lt. Governor was inside the synagogue listening to the students read their winning essays and inspired by what he heard. The students shared ideas for the future of the islands. A future full of help for seniors, mentoring for young students, and safety in communities.

Sometimes what they touched on wasn’t easy to put into words.

“I spoke on a topic that wasn’t usually spoken about. Usually one of those topics that is left alone. I just thought that if I spoke on this it would be something that would stand out,” Gregory Christian a student from VI Montessori School and Peter Gruber Int’l Academy said.

For the scholarship each student was required to write an essay about what they could do to impact change in their community. Gregory Christian from VI Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy talked about the ideals of what a real man should be.

When asked to come up and read his essay Ivanna Eudora Kean High School student Ki’ Andre Thomas left his to the side and spoke from the heart about issues plaguing his community. Like the increasing problem of gun violence and how he can inflict change, a change like Martin Luther King created.

“I hope to continue in his footsteps trying to continue his great work to make a change in the community,” Thomas said.

All eight students embodied that same determination, that same purpose to make an impact on their Virgin Islands community.

Chenijah Dawson, the only student recognized from St. John joining from Gifft Hill School, wants to go away for college but bring her talents back to help impact the next generation of learners.

“Telling them things I wish people had told me when I was younger. Work as hard as possible. Always take every opportunity you have because you never know what’s going to happen and you might regret it,” Dawson said.

A future sure to be full of opportunity for these young leaders already making a difference in their communities, just as Dr. Martin Luther King did.