(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) After practicing for months, Capitol Hill students will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tomorrow afternoon.
Fifth graders at Watkins Elementary School will recite the entire “I Have a Dream” speech at 1 p.m. Friday, standing where King delivered the speech in 1963.
Nearly 100 students have been practicing their lines in the Watkins cafeteria for the past two months, taking the last 15 minutes of every school day to rehearse, assistant principal Anthony Lawson said. They first got their lines before Thanksgiving.
“The kids are as passionate about it as the teachers are,” he said. “They knew as fourth graders that they would be doing it this year, and this is their big moment.”
Students at the 420 12th St. SE school have read the speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for at least the past seven years, Lawson said. Video from the reading last year shows smiling children taking turns at the podium and raising their arms as they shout the final words of the speech: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
“Dr. King was like a really big person in the civil rights movement, so it felt good to honor his legacy,” one girl said on camera after participating in the reading.
“I feel awesome right now, like I jumped off a plane,” another beaming student said.
Video via YouTube/Caryn Ernst