To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, Tyrone ninth graders study his famous speech

Today, as Americans celebrate Martin Luther King Day, 125 Tyrone Area School District ninth graders in Mr. Richard Merryman’s five English classes performed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
In addition, these Tyrone freshman studied the varied references, colorful comparisons and solid sentence styles contained in King’s masterful speech of the early 60s.
Twenty-two years ago in 1983, during the era of President Ronald Reagan, the United States Congress established Martin Luther King Day on the third Monday of each January to commemorate King’s contributions to the cause of freedom in this nation and around the world.
Commented Merryman, “Since Tyrone students attend school on Martin Luther King Day, it provides teachers with a chance to introduce students to some of King’s inspiring speeches.”
King delivered his famous Dream Speech on August 28, 1963 at a Civil Rights Rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Forty-two years later, teachers of English can use that talk to teach students some important aspects of language demonstrated in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
To start with, Tyrone ninth graders recognized that King utilized a diversity of references or allusions in his speech, including the United States Constitution, the Bible, a patriotic song and a black spiritual.
Finally, Martin Luther King inspired his immediate listeners and also instructed future speech makers with solid sentence styles. These solid sentences included, “I have a dream that children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Also, the eloquent statement, “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
By performing and studying Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the 22nd anniversary of the King holiday this Monday, January 17, 2005, Tyrone students hopefully will arrive at a greater appreciation of the varied references, comparisons and sentence styles contained in King’s masterful speech.
Concluded Merryman, “For the teacher of English and speech, historical, patriotic, romantic and religious holidays provide the opportunity for public high school students to perform and to study those great speeches, poems, stories, and plays which define our nation.
“Furthermore, in this era of public school assessment, what better examples could public school teachers utilize to help students prepare for up-coming PSSA Writing and Reading Tests than the imaginative literature and the historical documents which under gird western civilization? On his holiday, we give thanks that Dr. King created some of those memorable documents both for edification and for education.”