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Royal Oak Kindergartners Celebrate the Life of Martin Luther King Jr. with Words and Pictures

Students at Keller Elementary make a display with messages of compassion in honor of the slain Civil Rights leader.

Keller kindergartners remind students to get along with one another.
Keller kindergartners remind students to get along with one another.
Kindergartners at Keller Elementary in Royal Oak have more trouble saying his name  – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – than understanding his message.

"It's OK. His name does have a lot of words," Kirsten Leestma told her class on Friday as students stumbled, "but can you tell me who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was?"

"He was nice."

"He was peaceful."

"He wanted us to share at the drinking fountain."

"He wanted kids to go to the same school."

"He wanted us to be equal."

"He died."

At 5 years old, the students demonstrated their simple understanding of the slain Civil Rights leader's messages of peaceful problem-solving, compassion and understanding one another.

To help students, Leestma read "The Crayon Box that Talked," a book about a group of bickering crayons that learned when they worked together they could be a part of something interesting, colorful and wonderful.

"I want you to think about ways you can get along with each other," Leestma said.

Students shared their ideas in pictures and words on crayon cut-outs and placed them on a large display in the hallway to remind the older students of how King wanted people to get along.

"Tell people to use nice words," one student said. 

"When somebody is lonely at a table, sit with them," said another.

Clearly King's message lives on.

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