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THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz
THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz
Chrilane McCray, New York City's first lady, visited a school in Hollis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dozens of determined kids and the first lady of New York City spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day making peace quilts and writing letters to American soldiers overseas.

Chirlane McCray dropped into workshops being held in the junior high school, Susan B. Anthony Academy, mingling with pre-teens and discussing King’s emphasis on education.

“We pray that you are safe on this day,” McCray read aloud from the letter she had written to  American soldiers. “As Martin Luther King said, ‘When it is darkest, that is when we see the stars.’”

In honor of King, Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation hosted workshops for schoolchildren across New York City to create peace quilts and participate in other activities. On a day when most students relaxed at home, dozens of 11-,12- and 13-year-olds came to their school in Hollis on Monday.

“I wanted to come here today instead of just sitting at home doing nothing,” said Manuel Moreno, a seventh-grader who has been with the foundation program for a year to get help with math. “I’m getting more knowledge here and they teach us how to control ourselves.”

The foundation holds after-school workshops for students, who spend their time working on homework and subjects that they have difficulty with. With school out of session on Monday, the students spent the day on activities meant to reflect King’s ideals.

McCray spoke with children as they wrote letters to soldiers, among other activities. One student asked McCray if she liked her job.

“When I get to spend my day with kids like you, it’s the best,” she said.

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