Local children enjoyed a hearty breakfast Monday as part of the community-wide celebration of the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
The treat - consisting of french toast sticks, scrambled eggs, sausage links, biscuit, juice and milk - was served at Laughlin Memorial Chapel on 18th Street in Wheeling. The chapel is where children get help with their homework during the school year and can attend vacation Bible school and reading programs during the summer.
Patty Mayfield, who has worked at the chapel for 26 years and serves as cook, said the MLK holiday is now even more meaningful because an African-American is president of the United States.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Teigan Watson, 3, of Wheeling eats breakfast Monday at Laughlin Memorial Chapel in Wheeling.
She noted it's important to teach today's youth that with hard work comes success.
''I don't think they realize all the work he had to do to get to that spot,'' Mayfield said of President Barack Obama.
Zhanterra Smith, 17, said because of King's work she can attend school with ''people of other ethnicities.''
''I can go to school with people and they won't talk about my race. And I can be friends with whomever I want,'' Smith said.
DaVina Paige, 13, said King's civil rights work allowed ''blacks and whites to go to school together instead of being separated.''
''If it wasn't for Martin Luther King, who knows?'' Paige added.
Smith, Paige and Harmonie Jackson-Mayfield, 9, all were scheduled to perform a dance about freedom from slavery during a performance at the chapel after breakfast.
Their group's name is Velocity.
Nancy DeStefano, administrative assistant, said in addition to its after-school services, the chapel ministers to the children.
''The chapel is so much a part of the community in East Wheeling,'' she added.
Later Monday, winners of the YWCA Project on Racism essay contest at Wheeling Jesuit University had the opportunity to read their works.
Ritchie Elementary School second-grader Logan Frazier took first place at the elementary school level, while Wheeling Park High School 11th-grader Moujhuri Sau won at the high school level.
Entertaining the crowd there were members of the local youth dance group "Generations of Steppaz."