Students speak of King's legacy at celebration.
SPRINGFIELD - Student speeches, essays and artworks marked this community's seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, which was held at Springfield Middle School on Monday.
About 300 people turned out for the afternoon event, which was organized by the city, the school district, Willamalane Park & Recreation District, the Springfield Family Resource Center and the Springfield Alliance for Equality and Respect, known as SAfER.
"It is up to you what kind of world you want this to be," said Stephanie Badenoch, a 16-year-old junior from Springfield High School who was one of two keynote speakers on the program. "Friendship and love or discrimination and hate: What will your choice be?"
She was followed on the podium by Megan Wright, also a 16-year-old junior at the school, who referred to King's famous "I Have a Dream Speech" and likewise challenged the audience to choose between good and evil.
"We can't stay neutral," she said. "We either have to be working toward the positive or we are working toward the negative."
Wright won this year's speech contest. Second place went to Thomas Lovell, who did not appear; his place was taken by second alternate Badenoch. The award for first alternate went to Bria Light.
Music was provided by the Rockin' Amigos, a quartet of students at Centennial Elementary School; by the fifth-grade choir from Mount Vernon Elementary School; and by the Eugene Peace Choir, which was making its third appearance at a Springfield MLK celebration.
Here is a list of other MLK student awards:
Grades 4 and 5: Ashley Spinelli, Yolanda Elementary School, art; Edgar Estrada, Moffitt Elementary School, art; Garret Ogon, Yolanda, essay; Jasmin Brown, Moffitt, poetry.
Grades 6 and 7: Angelica Millard, Agnes Stewart Middle School, art; Nick Roberts, Agnes Stewart, art; Jordan Magill, Hamlin Middle School, essay; Riley Westerfield, Thurston Middle School, essay; Kelsey Howe, Hamlin, essay; Michael Silva, Hamlin, poetry; and Cam Nguyen, Hamlin, poetry.
Grades 8 and 9: Brittany Dorris, Agnes Stewart, art; Victoria Lemmon, Agnes Stewart, art; and Tim Mahn, Thurston High School, poetry.
Grades 10-12: Jose Gutierrez, Springfield High School, ceramics; Angelica Swartout, Springfield, ceramics; and Oscar Rodriguez, Thurston High School, poetry.