Date: Feb. 29, 2008
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, firstname.lastname@example.org
PNC Education Students Help Others on Martin Luther King Day
WESTVILLE – A number of Purdue University North Central students, faculty and staff devoted their time, energies and talents to helping others as they celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day.
Some of their projects included lending a hand to doing clean-up and fix-up work for area not-for-profit agencies, collecting books to be distributed to children, teens and adults and an activity day for children at the Michigan City Public Library.
As explained by Dr. David Pratt, PNC assistant professor of Education, “Many area schools had the day off on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was a day on for 43 preschool- and elementary-school-age students who participated in this one-day event.”
The day of learning activities was planned and organized by PNC Department of Education students and members of Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society of education majors. These future educators led a series of activities for children that included games and coloring intended to help them learn and understand the meaning of the day.
“As an extension of the annual PNC celebration of Dr. King's birthday, our students decided to design activities so that children could interact with them and they could help the youngsters appreciate the work of King and commemorate his legacy,” said Pratt.
That day the center of the library was filled with young children as they listened to stories, engaged in coloring and other crafts and listened to the famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Pratt, counselor of the Kappa Delta Pi group and MLK committee member at PNC, noted that planning, organizing and successfully executing such a large event is no small feat, particularly since much of the work was done by students who already have a full schedule of classes, homework, campus activities and family and work obligations.
The primary organizers were students Cassie Friend and Chris Frank, both of LaPorte. They were assisted by several PNC education students including Elizabeth Falbo, of Michigan City ; Erin Paulson, of Hobart ; Jessica Leib, of Valparaiso ; Heather Friday, of Rolling Prairie; and Karianne Lopez, of Michigan City .
Dr. Rex Morrow, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts stopped by the event and praised the group for their strong commitment to serving the community.
“An appreciation of diversity must begin with our children and youth," said Morrow. “Research indicates that we are more successful in combating bias, prejudice and racism when we teach children about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his beliefs and his dream. This event helped children learn more about Dr. King and appreciate his work through a variety of fun, yet educational activities.
"Our PNC students created a memorable day for these youngsters. As future teachers, they also had a valuable experience to interact with young people. It was a tremendous event for all involved.”
Friend shared her perspective of the day, “It was important to me that the children were able to spend the day learning about the man the day was created for, so that they were able to see what wonderful, life changing things Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did for our country.”
Pratt noted that he would like to continue the events offered at the library next year and looks forward to extending the project to local schools.
“One thing I would like to see is that the event be extended beyond the single day,” said Pratt. His goal is to provide activities to local teachers that students in the PNC Elementary Education program would develop in their elementary education courses.
According to Pratt, “Designing lesson plans and selecting websites that would be appropriate for teachers to use in the days preceding and following Martin Luther King Day might help ensure that more teachers join in with the celebration.”