MONTCLAIR, NJ - Since 1989, 117 scholarships totaling to over $468,000 have been given to graduating seniors from Montclair attending colleges and universities throughout the country.
Awards provided to recipients are in increments of $1000 per year, provided that the awardee continues to meet the requirements as per the award rules and regulations.
On Monday, January 15, the 29th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship breakfast was held at Montclair High School. This breakfast, commemorating the life and legacy of King, along with other funding sources, helps to sustain this annual event.
Master of Ceremony, Alfred Davis, Jr., DC, of Davis Integrated Medicine, addressed the crowd as people settled to enjoy the program. He welcomed Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson to the podium.
"Its important that we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and recognize the work of our young people and assist where one can financially in their pursuit of higher education," said Jackson, addressing the crowd.
Middle school students from Montclair public schools and winners of the 19th Annual Alpha Phi Alpha Lambda chapter oratorical contest, Samuel Welsh and Caleb Levine presented their pieces on the King's perspective of the world today.
Welsh opened by making note of King's work, as he shared his experience growing up as biracial in Montclair.
"Dr. King changed so many lives and brought people together through non-violence, but if he were to return today he would be disappointed," Welsh said.
"Although we may think that little black boys and girls can hold hands with little white boys and girls, we still see we are still chasing the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," he added.
In Levine's piece, he painted a picture of King emerging from a time machine 50 years later, finding a Memphis newspaper dated November 1, 2016. King can only recall standing on the Lorraine Motel balcony. Surveying his surroundings, King notices so much has changed, yet some of the causes he was fighting for, remain some of the same issues still in existence.
"If Dr. King was to return he would say, 'Good work, but keep on fighting'," added Levine.
Following a musical selection presented by student Layton Glover performing pieces from Bach and Herbie Hancock, the keynote speaker Rev. Bernadette Glover, of St.Paul Baptist Church of Montclair, approached the podium.
In delivering the keynote address, Glover shared the story of Alfred Nobel and the creation of the Nobel Peace Prize, of which, King was a recipient. She went on to explain how it came about and its significance. Glover explained that the Nobel Peace Prize recognizes a person or persons who makes strides in "changing lives for all people for the better."
In closing, Stanley E. White, president of the MLK Scholarship fund, stated, "In giving out the awards, its not a matter of who we give these awards to, its a matter of not being able to give to all who apply. We would like to do more and with the support I see in this room, we can."