This year the Hillcrest School in St. Louis decided to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a little differently. Instead of taking a day off school, we chose to make it a day of community service. The students were studying about the life of Dr. King and they learned that while the third Monday in January became an official holiday in 1983, legislation in 1994 actually transformed the day into a day of citizen action. The MLK Day of Service is a way to transfer Dr. King’s life and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems.

Hilcrest students in grades 3-8 came to school on Monday, January 18, ready to serve. They worked at a nearby charitable organization called Helping Hand-Me-Downs, which provides clothing and supplies to children in need and support to their families. Students spent three hours sorting clothes and packing boxes of supplies for families in need.

The students in grades K-2 served the next day at the St. Louis Food Bank where they helped sort food and send boxes to seniors in need.

This year at Hillcrest we have been focusing on character development, especially service. We will continue to strive to follow the example of Jesus as described in Gal. 5:13: “Use your freedom to serve one another in love.”

Melissa Morris is principal and grades 5-8 teacher at Hillcrest School in St. Louis.