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1-4-19 — Public Invited to See Student Entries in MLK Contest

Jan. 4, 2019 ~ The public is invited to join Olathe Public Schools and Olathe Human Relations Commission for the city's 19th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. "Ending Silence" is the theme of this year's celebration at the Bell Cultural Events Center on the campus of MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2030 E. College Way, Olathe.

Guest speakers will be Sunayana Dumala, founder of the Forever Welcome Facebook community; and Mark DuPree, Wyandotte County / Kansas City, Kan. District attorney. The Olathe North High School choir and harpist Celia Albon will provide the special music. K.C. Friends of Alvin Ailey will dance.

The celebration is an opportunity for Olathe youth to promote a society free of bullying, discrimination and mistreatment of others based on race, gender or religion by sharing their views in essays, visual art, or mixed media presentations. This year more than 4,600 students in grades 6-12 submitted entries. That was an increase of 300 entries from 2018, according to Tim Brady, Olathe Public Schools director of athletics and activities. There were 3,717 entries from middle school students, and 945 from the district’s five high schools.

The public is invited to view artwork during the final judging session, 6-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 in the Technology Support Center, 14250 S. Black Bob Road, or during a pre-event reception at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 in the Bell Cultural Events Center. A number of students will read their essays at the Jan. 20 event. Many entries will be displayed at the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and then in the downtown Olathe Public Library, 201 E. Park Street, through Feb. 18.

Contest winners receive a plaque and cash prize.

The Martin Luther King Celebration involves a partnership of the City of Olathe, Olathe Public Schools, MidAmerica Nazarene University, and Olathe Public Library. Sponsors include Olathe Communities That Care, and Harlan C. Parker Insurance Agency.

Questions about the 19th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration may be directed to Vanessa Vaughn West with the City of Olathe, (913) 669-1946 or