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January 21. 2013 9:51PM

Dublin students celebrate King Day with special visitors

DUBLIN - Many students across the country have Martin Luther King Jr's birthday off from school.

But Dublin School observed the day with regular classes and a visit from the Trey Whitfield School Choir of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Both schools have marked Martin Luther King Jr. day with the concert of uplifting songs for the past 16 years.

Dublin School Headmaster Brad Bates said the reason school is held on MLK Day is primarily because of the visit from Trey Whitfield.

Classes Monday focused on King.

"We talk about Martin Luther King Jr. throughout the day," Bates said.

Students also attended a lecture in the morning about the second inauguration of President Barack Obama and how it corresponds to President Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration.

Some classes watched the inauguration live, while others would have an opportunity to watch it in the evening, Bates said.

Diversity was a core principle of Dublin School's mission when it was founded in 1935 as a boarding and day school for grades 9 through 12 in Dublin.

The Trey Whitfield visit is also an opportunity for the Brooklyn students to visit Dublin School and interview for admission into the private high school.

Karion Smith, 17, of Brooklyn now a Dublin School senior, visited Dublin School as a choir member in her seventh and eighth grade years at Trey Whitfield.

At the close of the concert, she and another former Trey Whitfield student, Jeffery Barthwaite, got up to sing "Shine Like a Diamond" with the choir.

Marking MLK Day and Obama's second inauguration with the duel school celebration was great, she said, adding her Dublin School classes took a special look at African-American history leading up to the day.

"It was really huge to be able to witness everything happening," she said.

Shelton Quiller, head of the Trey Whitfield music department, said it was an honor to spend the historic day of Obama's second inauguration celebrating MLK Day at Dublin School.

Talking to the students in the school auditorium after the concert he said, "When we are asked where we were when Barack Obama was re-inaugurated, I'll be glad to say that we were here being part of history."

"Keep studying hard," Bates told the Whitfield choir members. "Keeping singing and I hope to see you next year. And keep sending students to Dublin."

The school's namesake, Trey Whitfield was born and raised in Brooklyn. In 1986 he received a full scholarship to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro where he was active in theatre and was a member of the baseball and basketball teams. In his junior year, he led the Brewster basketball team to the New England State Championship. In 1989, a week before his graduation from the academy, he died in a boating accident.

Out of the tragedy Trey's parents, Janie and A.B. Whitfield, founded the Trey Whitfield School with the mission of providing high quality and affordable education in Brooklyn for children from preschool through grade 8.

mpierce@newstote.com







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