In honor of MLK, service at a school

Volunteer revamp teachers’ room at New Horizons
Jan. 19, 2013 @ 05:53 PM

Items from a storage room at New Horizons Academy of Excellence lined the hallway at the faith-based alternative high school located on the second floor of the Reality Center. Boxes of papers. Books. An old printer/fax machine. A crutch. More papers.

About 10 volunteers had emptied the storage room to clean it, reorganize it and turn it into a teachers’ lounge. Volunteers include Duke Divinity School students and students in Duke University’s physician assistant graduate program. The physician assistant program’s outreach chairwoman found the project. Student Tamika Dickens volunteered as a way to get to know Durham, she said.

Physician assistant student Katelyn Uhlemann said she has always loved volunteering, and signed up due to the nature of the program. Saturday’s project is an event organized by the Durham Martin Luther King Jr. Steering Committee as a Day of Service.

Dickens said she liked organizing bookshelves in the room, which will double as a school resource room and library. Dickens sorted several editions of “Elements of Literature” alongside books like “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.” Other books on the bookcases included the Bible, Anastasia books, an Adobe InDesign CS2 guide, and work by Homer, Sophocles and even Snoop Dogg.

Martina Dunford, known as Coach D, is head of school. Day of Service chair Brandon Hudson offered to focus on New Horizons for the project, and they’re grateful, Dunford said. The theme of this year’s MLK programs is “Liberation through Learning: Education & the Future of our Youth.”

Dunford said the room included donations and items the school has collected for several years. As they sorted, outdated computer guides were tossed and new containers were brought in to organize materials. The new space began to take shape as a fresh place for teachers to plan their school days.

Other MLK events sponsored by the Durham MLK Steering Committee include the MLK Day Unity March and Rally at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the NC Mutual Life Insurance Company, 411 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham. It continues downtown to First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main St., for a service with remarks by elected officials. The MLK Committee will also hold the annual religious service at 6 p.m. Monday at St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church, 531 S. Roxboro St., Durham. Keynote speaker is the Rev. John Mendez, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Scholarships will be awarded.