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I Have a Dream winner announced
A Liturgical dance performance during the celebration. - photo by Bryan Fazio

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A large crowd remembered, celebrated and honored those who act Sunday afternoon during Newton County’s MLK Ecumenical Celebration at Newton High School.

The event, themed Remember, Celebrate and Act, was the 30th annual celebration, commemorating the 86th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and handing out honors for Newton County’s I Have a Dream, MLK Trailblazer and Young Dreamer awards.

Rev. Harold Cobb introduced the I Have a Dream Award winner, who was a former member of the state NAACP, president of the Newton County chapter of NAACP, member of the Newton Democratic Party and retired minister of 50 years.
The 2015 I Have a Dream award winner is Rev. Willie James Reed.

“I’m deeply touched and at the same time deeply motivated to pursue the efforts of what Dr. King was all about,” Reed said.

Cobb then introduced the MLK Trailblazer winner, stating she founded the Unity Learning Network and helped Newton County students better grasp science, technology and math, and has helped to give Toys for Tots for 350 families.
The 2015 MLK Trailblazer award winner is Tiffany Clay.

“I am just so shocked,” Clay said. “Thank you so much for the opportunity. I love what I do. I was born to be a teacher.”
Margaret Wimberly then took the podium to introduce three Young Dreamer award winners, two for K through fifth grades and one through sixth through 12th.

The K-5 winners are sisters Star and Sarai Baker.

The sisters gave back to Newton County in ways such as forgoing birthday presents for canned foods, giving award points to a classmate who didn’t have any, so they could have a Christmas present and more.

The 6-12 grade Young Dreamer award winner is Precious Buddington.

Among her accomplishments, Boddington is on the Newton High School volleyball and soccer team a star scholar, volunteer at the Rainbow Shelter and helped found a program for upper classman to mentor under classman.

The evening began with Gail Slaton calling the crowd to celebration, followed by a litany of commemeration from area students.

Several elected officials then greeted the crowd, along with 2014 MLK Scholar Richelle St. Louis.

Music and dance brought Dr. MLK's work to live as The Washington Street All-Stars, BJ's Love and Learning Center, The King Interdenominational Choir and The Turner Lake Interpretive Dancers took the stage.

After being introduced by Rev. George Lanier, Rev. Ronny Brannen gave the evening's message, reading from Matthew 16: 13-18 discussing the power of a name.