High School Students Discuss Future of MLK's 'Dream'

MLK High School Panel

Students from Stockton, Absegami High School, Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Egg Harbor Township High School, Pleasantville High School and Atlantic City High School participated on the panel moderated by Brian Pluchino.

Galloway, NJ – In the continuing celebration and remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr., Stockton University held its 4th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Panel Discussion on Jan. 24. This year two Stockton students and students from five area high schools students exchanged views on “Embracing the Dream and Creating the Change.”

mlk high school panelAddressing the issue of MLK’s “dream” in today’s society, the students said the dream is educating the community. Amadeous Co from the Atlantic City Institute of Technology pointed out the “importance of educating others to see different points of view” in order to create a culture in which all communities can join even if there are differences.

Dayane Santos, a Stockton University Residential Assistant, spoke about her personal dream that her “parents had always wanted her to have because they couldn’t”, which was getting an education and perusing any opportunity that came her way. She plans to become a lawyer.

“MLK’s Dream goes beyond America,” said Egg Harbor Township High School Student, Olufemi Agabalogun, whose family moved to America to live out their dreams, including his mother becoming a doctor.

mlk high school panelWhen the panel was asked about the goals their generation needs to strive for to bring change to America, Sofia Graziano from Absegami High School spoke about the importance of “encouraging people to vote for what they want instead of shutting down others and their opposing opinions.”

Stockton University Student Trustee, Deon Davis emphasized and encouraged voting by the younger generation, and how this past election did encourage and will continue to encourage more people to actively vote in the future.

Detty Exantus, a student from Pleasantville High School, shared her concerns about the past election and the impact and views of the new president.

“Our generation needs to speak up and pay attention,” said Atlantic City High School student Na-Drai Brickhouse.

Students discussed the issues in small groups, and shared their results and concerns during lunch. Issues included how students felt about political discussions in the classroom, the lack of diversity in many high schools in New Jersey, and the good and bad impact of social media on their lives and their views.

mlk  high school panelVice President for Student Affairs Dr. Christopher C. Catching ended the event by saying how impressed he was with the student discussion.

“This event has now become a part of Stockton’s legacy,” Catching said. “I hope these conversations continue outside this room and you all continue to advocate for social justice in education and in your community.”

“We do this event, because these students, who all come from different schools and backgrounds, can be shown that they are not alone,” said program co-chair Brian Pluchino, assistant director of Residential Life Facilities and Student Retention.  “It sparks conversation.”

Other members of the planning committee are co-chair and Stockton Community Engagement Liaison Patricia Collins, Rachel Kern, Recruitment Manager Sharon Hunt and Assistant Director of Student Development Dianne Stalling. 

View a gallery of photos on flickr.

_ Reported by Julia Sus

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Diane D’Amico
Director of News and Media Relations
Stockton University
Galloway, N.J. 08205