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Lowell High School's Newspaper of Record

The LHS Review

LHS social action at MLK event

English Version

Sketch by Staff Artist Kleverton Alves Botelho
Students came together on the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday to make a difference.

Laura Rodriguez, Staff Contributor

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By Laura Rodriguez

Staff Contributor

Cambridge, MA – From the moment  the Lowell High School (LHS) students stepped on the bus in Lowell at 1:00pm, anticipation ran high among them to make a difference.

Giving up the afternoon on a day off from school didn’t seem so bad when students considered whose life achievements they mirrored.

Martin Luther King, Jr., sacrificed far more and lead by example over 60 years ago to protest and realize civil rights for all.

Now on the national holiday which commemorates MLK, Jr.’s life, over 3,500 people from all backgrounds come together to make life a little better for  the poor, homeless, isolated elders, impoverished children, not-forgotten veterans and far away military personnel.

It was the seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day of Service, a large-scale local social action project in Cambridge, MA, sponsored by the non-profit organization Many Helping Hands 365.  

I learned from the experience that even though many people are busy or in difficult times, they still take time to help others, according to this LHS Review reporter, originally from Colombia.

I really enjoyed participating in that day.  Next year I am willing to do it again to help others.

50 LHS student volunteers, a diverse group from all different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, expressed enthusiasm to contribute their time and skills as one force for the less fortunate.

“It was fun because you could help and be with your friends and you could see how many people were helping too just like you,”said LHS Senior Stephane Silva, who is originally from Brazil and volunteered at the senior center.

Upon arrival hundreds of volunteers swarmed the City Hall, they were seeking out their social action assignment of the day.

“I made scarves, Valentine’s Cards and put in a little bag things for little kids, and at last it was the best thing that has ever happened to me,”said LHS Senior John Santiago, who also volunteered at the senior center.

The social action activities included making valentines and bookmarks; sewing blankets and scarves sorting books, food and winter clothing; and assembling toiletry kits for the homeless as well as ER activity kits for children.

LHS students quickly found out they would be participating at the Cambridge Senior Center, where they would learn more about their assignment.

Voices echoing in the background, the mayor and vice mayor joined other civic leaders of Cambridge to thank and congratulate the organizers and participants reminding all how and why their work mattered on this historic day.

During a short wait outside the senior center students enjoyed free coffee, tea and hot chocolate from local vendors, as the anticipation and eagerness grew among the group.  Local businesses were volunteering employees, snacks and refreshments on this special day.

The event was co-organized by Lowell High School history teacher Jessica Lander along with activists Elizabeth Bartle and Leslie Bliss from the city.  Ms. Lander is a native of Cambridge.

At the first floor of the senior center, volunteers had the choice to create St.Valentines cards for the poor, they could use the arts and crafts materials needed to express their wishes the best way possible.

Messages included, “All we need is love,” “Love and Hope” and “We’re thinking of you.”

On the second floor blankets and scarves were made, volunteers handling the materials needed to decorate the blankets and scarves, the volunteers had to cut hearts, moons, stars or whatever figure they wanted to use to send a caring message.

Teachers Matthew Brennan, Ret. M.Sgt. Sue Antolini, USAF of ROTC, Paula Sweeney and alumnus Carla Capellan Duran accompanied the students to the event.

(Republished 3/20/2016 to add the final paragraph with chaperones)

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Courtesy Matthew Brennan
LHS Seniors John Santiago, Stephane Silva and with Alumnus Carla Kapalan Durant lead the LHS social action team on the trip to Cambridge for the civic action event on the MLK national holiday.

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LHS social action at MLK event