OTTUMWA — Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us more than just how to get along. He taught us to take action.
Principal Jeff Hendred at Horace Mann Elementary School gave students a task that, at first glance, may not have seemed to fit with King's main historic message: That one day, people of all races will live in harmony. Instead, Hendred tasked his students with describing their dreams. And that it's OK to dream big.
During a school event in the gym Monday, parents and classmates listened to dreams of young people who dreamed of becoming a football player, a stand-up comedian and a doctor. Though those dreams weren't about racial harmony, Hendred acknowledged after the assembly, that's just fine.
"That was Rev. King's dream. This is about their dreams."
Another example that doesn't necessarily jump out as being an obvious connection to Martin Luther King: Fifth-grader Beau Larue has learned to make stuff out of duct tape.
This, said Hendred, is a perfect example of what he was trying to teach his kids.
"The first I knew of it, he'd made a purse out of duct tape for his teacher," Hendred said Monday. "He's made a billfold, bookmarks ... and a backpack. I see him using his duct tape backpack!"
But how is that a dream like the one celebrated during MLK Day?
"Because he can see something that doesn't exist," Hendred said, "and work to bring that vision into reality."
Beau learned from his older brother, then began getting more knowledge via YouTube tutorials. He built up his skills to an impressive level.
"I love when I can make something no one else has made before," Beau told the audience. "I like when I can accomplish my goal."