Schools closed to observe King holiday |

Schools closed to observe King holiday

Schools in both the Lake Tahoe Unified School District and the Douglas County School District get the day off today in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

And while some students may not realize that the federal holiday represents more than a three-day weekend, there are teachers who are doing their part to educate their classes about King’s life and values.

Chris Sowers, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Al Tahoe Elementary School said her students have been studying slavery in Colonial America for two weeks and will be studying King’s life this week.

“I’ll be showing a film of one of his important speeches,” Sowers said. “Since we’ve been studying slavery, I’ve brought in sections of the movie “Roots” and they’re just glued to it.”

Sowers said her class has also been doing skits to achieve a better understanding of the impact of prejudice and segregation.

Third-grade teacher Danette Winslow at Saint Theresa Catholic School said she thinks it’s important for kids to learn about historical figures like King.

“They’re our past, but they’re our link to the future,” Winslow said. “I believe Martin Luther King was definitely ahead of his time. We need to learn about those who have paved the way for us.

“(King’s) message was such a powerful one. I told my kids, ‘You need to go out and create peace.'”

Winslow asked her students to learn everything they could about King, over the weekend. “We’re nothing without our history,” she said. “It’s kind of like a family tree.”

Throughout this week, Winslow’s class will be studying King’s accomplishments. She said it’s important to recognize that unfair judgments and injustices are still very real issues in today’s society.

“You can’t candy-coat everything for the kids,” Winslow said. “There is some ugliness out there and one person can make a difference, you can make a difference. But they need to know that these things still go on.”

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