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College students read to kids for MLK Day

(Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette) Michigan Technological University students Dax Schoof, Zachary Hooper and Zachary Gillish read to students in Beth Fisher’s second-grade class at Houghton Elementary School for Martin Luther King Day. They are part of Society of African-American Men (SAAM), a student group under the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).

HOUGHTON — On what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 91st birthday, students from Michigan Technological and Finlandia universities visited local elementary schools to teach children why he was so important.

Monday morning and afternoon, Tech students stopped by Hancock, Dollar Bay and Houghton. The college students stopped by several classrooms to read a short book about the life of the slain civil rights leader. Finlandia students also volunteered at several sites, including Houghton Elementary School, for their MLK Day of Service.

“I think it’s important to expose young children to civil rights activists that shaped our nation, that influenced movement like Cesar Chavez and the workers’ union, and the Native American movement that was going on in the ’60s,” said Angela Gutierrez, a third-year social science major at Michigan Tech.

Ezequiel Cuellar, a second-year mechanical engineering major at Tech, said in today’s world, it’s important for children to know the history leading to today’s policies.

“Especially to have them learn about it early, they can have a better understanding of each other,” he said.

(Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette) Michigan Technological University students Zachary Gillish, Zachary Hooper and Dax Schoof read to students in Beth Fisher’s second-grade class at Houghton Elementary School for Martin Luther King Day. They are part of Society of African-American Men (SAAM), a student group under the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).

After reading, the college students took questions from the elementary-schoolers. They had been excited to learn, Gutierrez said.

“They had a lot of good comments,” she said. “I asked a group what their biggest takeaway was, and one of the girls said, ‘We want to spread the love everywhere.’ I think that’s a beautiful thing.”

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