As part of the students’ year-long mentoring program, Kathy Trombino’s fifth-graders and Mary Grove’s kindergartners meet once a week and address different lessons.
Trombino said the buddy program inspires caring and builds friendships within the two grades. She said the older students like to work with their younger peers.
On Wednesday, the students read booklets and colored pages that highlighted some of King’s accomplishments.
“It’s a wonderful system,” said Grove, surrounded by students inside her kindergarten classroom. “It’s really important to teach his values that inspired so many people to have a dream greater than themselves.”
Among the messages of King emphasized by the booklets were his love of reading, school and sports.
“He was the one that let us be free,” said Wanah Zamaryalai, 5, as she read along with 11-year-old fifth-grade buddy Jordan Cainlewis. “He taught us to be nice to people.”
Reading with 6-year-old Devin Kang, who colored in the booklet’s pages, Sahil Narayan, 10, said King’s story was interesting, particularly because it had no fighting.
“He wanted civil rights,” Sahil said.
Daniel Nguyen, 10, also said he enjoyed teaching his buddy, 5-year-old Jacobus Brakkee, because it allowed them to read and understand the lesson together.
“It’s really interesting what he (King) did,” Daniel said. “It’s important to learn so when he (Jacobus) gets older, he can accomplish more.”
At the end of Wednesday’s lesson, the buddies shook hands and said together, “We’re glad Dr. King made us be friends.”
All class long, the students echoed the themes of one of the civil rights leader’s greatest milestones — his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered 50 years ago during a political rally in Washington, D.C., that called for equality among Americans.
On Monday, that legacy will be remembered during the 17th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast fundraiser ay 8:30 a.m. in the Tracy Community Center.
This year’s event is sponsored by the Tracy Unified School District, the Black Student Unions of Tracy and Kimball high schools, and the Tracy African American Association.
The event’s program will feature keynote speaker Audrey Harrison; performances by third-graders from Freiler School and the Kimball High school choir; and the presentation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Image Award to James Young and Tony Beckham.
The theme of the breakfast this year is “The Power of A Dream,” and the national anthem will be performed by Ester Ekeweme, with Lydia Young performing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often called the black national anthem.
Tickets to the breakfast are still available.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.