Students Enjoy a Dream Landing

Students at Landing Elementary School celebrated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with poetry, presentations and a special “Dreams for Peace” balloon launch. All activities emphasized Dr. King’s message of equality and tolerance, with each grade level performing or presenting a unique and inspiring piece during the assembly.

Standing together, third-graders held up letters spelling out “Peace,” made from decorated tracings of their handprints, while other presented a PowerPoint on peace in everyday life. Several fourth-graders held both eggs and a sign that spelled out “We are all the same.” Each egg represented a different ethnic, religious or social group that has been discriminated against, with all students dropping the eggs, smashing discrimination and hatred. Fifth-graders also recited poetry that fit in with the day’s theme.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph A. Laria and Glen Cove City Mayor Ralph Suozzi addressed the students and spoke about diversity and acceptance in the world, as well as Dr. King’s long-lasting impact.

The celebration commenced with the students heading outside to launch their class’ “Dreams for Peace” balloons simultaneously. Prior to the assembly, students wrote their “dreams for peace” on a small piece of paper, along with their first name and the school’s contact information, which were inserted into 36-inch helium balloons, one balloon representing each class at Landing. When the balloons reached a certain altitude, they broke, sending all of the students’ “dreams” back to the ground for people to find, read and experience their lasting impact, just as Dr. King’s dreams did.

“Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, and our dreams are important just like his,” said Maxx Kern, a student at the school. “They will make the world a better place.”

Interim Principal Martin Malone said that it is imperative to promote peace, tolerance and understanding in Glen Cove and throughout the world. The balloon launch is a positive way for the school to share its students’ dreams of peace for the world with everyone, he added.

“We are literally launching balloons filled with thoughts from the kids,” Malone said. “I hope the students realize how they can personally contribute to world peace. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech began with the idea of a dream that he had. Obviously, he had a major effect on our world, and we think we can do the same thing.”
Other schools throughout the district honored the memory of Dr. King in many different ways, including Gribbin Elementary School, where students in every grade at the school came together to sing songs and recite poignant words, taking the “Peace Pledge” and singing “We Shall Overcome” as a group.