HAZARD — Hazard Community and Technical College celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 18 by having a community breakfast followed by a MLK march from HCTC’s campus to the Consolidated Baptist Church. A community gathering was held directly after the march. The keynote speaker of the community breakfast was Dr. Aaron Thompson, who is the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
He explained to the audience four pillars that he believes makes a successful person. Thompson also spoke on the legacy of King and asked the audience to think how King would respond to some of today’s issues that are happening in the America.
After HCTC Vice President of Student Services Germaine Shaffer welcomed everyone, HCTC Faculty Ludrenia Hagans-Shepherd and HCTC Coordinator of Mentoring and Outreach Janice Hagans-Higgins performed the lighting of the candelabras to honor the lives of African American teachers from Knott, Perry, Lee and Breathitt Counties that have now passed on.
Thompson took the stage after an introduction by Shaffer. He told the audience that the lecture would consist of two parts. One was what he believed King’s legacy is and the second part consisted of PowerPoint slides that gave statistics and a brief history of the Civil Rights Movement in order to challenge those in attendance to think about what King would say now with the issues America is facing.
He asked the audience to consider the question, “What does it mean to live in a society that we can create what Dr. King imagined us to be on the world stage?”
Thompson believes that there are four elements to be successful in life. These four pillars are: family, community, institutions and him or herself.
“I know this to be factual because I published it,” joked Thompson.
He believes that family is important element of who a person is, of the strength an individual is. It is the strongest pillar out of the four.
“The idea that so much of us become what we are as adults as a legacy,” said Thompson.
Community is the second most important pillar, Thompson believes. By the age of 11 or 12, a child’s peers have more of an affect on the outcome of child’s life than parents or teachers, explained Thompson.
“My mother had a very interesting way of thinking about that, she said ‘Boy, you hang out with the no goods you will be no good.’,” said Thompson.
The third most important pillar, Thompson believes is institutions.
“Institutions in many communities, especially educational institutions, maybe the most stable place in that community,” said Thompson.
Thompson said that institutions need to employ the techniques to build a child to live in the world he or she is going to live in.
The fourth most important pillar for success, Thompson believes, is the person, him or herself. He feels like that pillar has been often times been overlooked.
Thompson said he believed in two things that teachers, parents and community leaders need to do to make sure individuals are successful.
1.) How to teach individuals to self assess.
2.) How do you teach the individual to go about finding ways to self assess.
After the lecture, the Pathfinders Kids and AmeriCorps Vistas presented the activity banner. The banner listed the different types of dreams the young kids had for the world. The kids painted their dreams on a white banner with paint and markers.
“My dream is for everyone in the world to have health insurance,” said one child.
Another child said, “One day, I will be a chef and I’ll get to feed everybody for free.”
Some other dreams the children had were clean rivers, and affordable education.
Everyone gathered after the kids presented the activity banner for the MLK March that went from the HCTC Campus to the Consolidated Baptist Church.
TJ Caudill can be reached at 606-629-3245 or on Twitter @TJHazardHerald.