Teacher Keeps MLK Dream Alive for Students Through Art

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky educator is using art and the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a way to empower her students to bring more kindness to their community.

“He once made a speech called, I have a dream and I wanted to write that sentence on here.,” says third-grader, Jacqson Smith

Smith is one of more than 350 students at Yates Elementary in Lexington, who are actively learning about civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I thought that he was an inspiration for me. He played an important role in trying to end like segregation and making it easier for the black people to live,” adds Smith

Art teacher Michelle Thomas says this is the 14th year she’s incorporated an MLK Jr art project into her curriculum, with hopes of empowering each student in her classroom to activate their imagination and illustrate the life of an American hero.

“We’ll watch a brief video that will review and just get them in the mindset thinking about Martin Luther King and his life. And then they will get a Kroger bag that’s blank, they’ll put their name on it, and then they will create an artwork that synthesizes everything they know and have learned about him into an artwork that it’s meaningful to them, thinking about how can I impact my community with my artwork,” explains Thomas

Thomas says the paper bags created by her art students celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, will be distributed to Bryan Station Road Kroger in Lexington, where workers will use the bags, to load groceries into, for customers during the upcoming MLK weekend.

“I definitely hope they take away the power within themselves to make a change, and also just kindness and needing whatever obstacles in your life with kindness and love in your hearts,” says Thomas