This year Pine River Schools will observe their first Martin Luther King Day as a school holiday. And it all began with fifth graders response to why they didn't observe the holiday in the first place.
Tiyi Schippers, a music teacher, asked the students why they thought the school didn't observe the holiday. "A little girl bravely raised her hand and said, well, I think it's because people around here don't like black people very much". As I looked the rest of of the class was sort of sadly nodding in agreement. Not like, yeah we don't but like, that's probably true.
A truth that educators in Pine River wanted to eradicate. So, the day officially became a school holiday. But instead of having another day off to play in the snow, the students went to work creating over one thousand dresses from pillow cases for children in Haiti.
The idea came from Meredith Matzella a Junior at Pine River. When asked what she thought her and other students had learned from Dr. King she said, "because he gave so much for us, we're finally like able to give back in a positive way. Instead of just sleeping all day or something on our day off. I thinks it's a good way to spend our Martin Luther King Day."
A teachable moment that led nearly one hundred students and community members to help out.
Schippers is excited about such a deep lesson. "It's from your heart, it moves into your home, into your community, into your town and into the world. And that's what Dr. Kings dream is and that's what we're doing here. And I just could not be more proud of my school district and I'm pretty sure that those children that thought that last year, know for a fact that that is not the case."