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2511 Sentry Drive, Suite 100

Anchorage, Alaska 99507

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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

- Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Learning is Messy; 

It's Messy, Challenging, and Oh, So Rewarding


by Martina Henke | PNA 7th/8th Grade Teacher


PNA's 7th/8th graders dedicated their language arts and social studies times throughout the weeks since Winter Break to preparations for PNA's annual Martin Luther King Jr. assembly. 

We actually began discussing equity and Dr. King's dreams many weeks ago, reading his words, brainstorming ideas for the assembly, and listening to the voices of people who have faced inequities in their lives.


The students talked with family members and friends who've had firsthand experiences with prejudice and inequity: as black Americans in the South during the Civil Rights movement, here in Alaska as Alaska Natives, and as Japanese Americans in Japanese internment camps during WW2. We read about inequities and challenges faced today, such as in Saudi Arabia, where women just recently gained the right to drive but still stand in separate lines at fast food restaurants. We pondered the controversy of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem. We read an excerpt from King's Strive Toward Freedom about the Montgomery bus boycotts and King's Six Principles of Nonviolence and vision of a "Beloved Community." Throughout this process, students reflected on all they heard and read and its application in our lives today. 

Our driving goal was to synthesize all they learned to create a presentation for the assembly that would be appropriate for a wide ranging audience and that would properly honor Dr. King.  As I reflected on this project and the process our class went through, I was constantly reminded that learning is mess