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MLK Jr. High School students reflect on impact civil rights leader made in their lives

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 18:29:31-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is recognized across the country, many use it as a day of service to honor the life and legacy of one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement.

"I feel like just by having a holiday for Martin Luther King, it reminds people of the work he work he put in," said Sam Washington, a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School in Detroit.

Daion Johnson is also an athlete at the school that is known around the state as King High School.

"Coming here is like a place of business, for real. You got people around you that are going to help you get to where you need to be," Daion said.

Sam and Daion are both active in athletics at King and eager for a bright future they said would not have been possible without the work of Dr. King.

Sam plans to attend college and obtain a master's degree in accounting. "I want to be a CPA," he said.

Daion is committed to playing football for Davenport University in Grand Rapids and looking forward to playing professional football one day.

On Dr. King opening doors for people of color, Daion said, "With me going to a PWI (predominantly white institution), I feel like he played a part in that because I'm a Black male going to a PWI."

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School was originally named Eastern High School. It was after King's assassination in 1968 that the school was renamed in his honor.

Veronica Hollis teaches English and print journalism at King High School.

"Athletics is great and wonderful and I'm so glad I'm a part of a school with that, but there's so much more going on here at King. So much more than athletics," she said referring to academics and scholarships.

Hollis said, "I really believe Dr. King can look at the school and be like, I'm pleased."