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2005 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration to span three days

As part of the observance of the national Martin Luther King Day holiday, the Martin Luther King Jr. West Virginia Holiday Commission and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will sponsor three days of activities from Saturday, Jan. 15, through Monday, Jan. 17. Events include an awards ceremony, an interfaith prayer service, an ecumenical service, the annual bell-ringing ceremony and an evening gala featuring performances by West Virginia artists. All activities are free and open to the public.

The weekend’s activities begin on Saturday with a private awards ceremony honoring 20 young people, five individuals and three service organizations. The awards ceremony will be held at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex. Awards will be given for the YWCA 12th annual “Project on Racism Essay Contest,” a poster contest, the Service Organization Honor Roll and the “Living the Dream” Awards. Prizes for the poster and essay competitions and the awards to teachers were donated by the foundations of Bluefield State College, Fairmont State University and West Virginia State University. A complete list of winners is attached.

On Sunday at 3 p.m. there will be an interfaith prayer service at the Municipal Auditorium in Charleston. The service will include prayers, musical selections, lighting of a unity candle and an address by Governor-elect Joe Manchin III.

The Commission and the Division also will sponsor an ecumenical service to be held in conjunction with the inauguration of Governor-elect Manchin on Monday. The program of tribute to and remembrance of King will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 501 Elizabeth St., Charleston. The symbolic bell-ringing ceremony, held annually on Martin Luther King Day, will take place on the south face (river side) of the Capitol as part of the inauguration ceremony. Inaugural activities begin at 1 p.m.

On Monday at 6 p.m., West Virginia State University (WVSU) and the Commission will sponsor a gala evening at the Davis Fine Arts Building on the WVSU campus to round out the holiday celebration. Entitled “An Evening of Celebration and Remembrances,” the gala will feature such West Virginia performers as Doris Fields singing Precious Lord in the manner of gospel great Mahalia Jackson, the Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus, the Charleston Area Performance Academy Speech Choir and many more. In addition, local actors will portray some of King’s contemporaries such as Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Robert Kennedy and Rosa Parks. A reception with light refreshments will follow the gala.

For more information or to find out more about the state’s Martin Luther King Day holiday activities, call the Division at (304) 558-0220 or visit the Commission’s web site at

The national Martin Luther King Day holiday was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1983. It is observed on the third Monday in January, falling on or near King’s Jan. 15 birthday.

The mission of the Martin Luther King Jr. West Virginia Holiday Commission is to provide programs celebrating the life and principles of King’s philosophy of non-violence, lengthening his legacy. Strengthened by diversity, the Commission draws together members who strive to create opportunity for growth, leadership and power in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s web site at for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.


Grades 1-5
First Place - Hannah Stephen, Grade 5, Kenna Elementary School, Charleston
Second Place - Bethany Boury, Grade 5, Mt. DeChantal Visitation Academy, Wheeling
Third Place - David Adkins, Grade 5, Kenna Elementary School, Charleston

Grades 6 - 8
First Place - Anna Cipoletti, Grade 7, Mt. DeChantal Visitation Academy, Wheeling
Second Place - Virginia King, Grade 8, Elkins Middle School, Elkins
Third Place - Emily Hornsby, Grade 6, Sherman Elementary School, Comfort

Grades 9 - 12
First Place - Grace Maxwell, Grade 11, Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling
Second Place - Amy Dunbar, Grade 11, Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling
Third Place - Valerie Pittenger, Grade 11, Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling


Grades K - 2
First Place - Derron J. A. Ruffin, Grade 1, Dunbar Primary School, Dunbar
Second Place - Brittany Wood, Grade 2, Pratt Elementary School, Pratt

Grades 3 - 5
First Place - Jeffrey Roach, Grade 3, Malden Elementary School, Malden
Second Place - Dakarai A. Petty, Grade 3, Bridgeview Elementary School, South Charleston
Third Place - Kierra Kinney, Grade 3, Valley Elementary School, Smithers

Grades 6 - 8
First Place - Megan Jean Adkins, Grade 7, Hannan Junior/Senior High School, Ashton
Second Place - Joey M. Funderburk, Grade 7, Enslow Middle School, Huntington
Third Place - Olivia L. Byron, Grade 8, Enslow Middle School, Huntington

Grades 9 - 12
First Place - Robert C. Gooslin, Grade 12, Mingo Career Center, Delbarton
Second Place - Bridgette L. Stonestreet, Grade 12, Robert C. Byrd High School, Clarksburg
Third Place - Scott T. Vinson, Grade 11, Robert C. Byrd High School, Clarksburg


Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society, Ranson
Maximizing the Achievement of African-American Children in Kanawha (MAACK), Charleston
Taylor Books, Charleston


Imam Mohammad Jamal Daoudi, South Charleston, Advocate of Peace
Jeffery A. Nelson, Madison, Human and Civil Rights
Thomas W. Rodd, Esq., Moatsville, Scholarship
Judson Wallace, Montgomery, Sharing of Self
J. Franklin Long, Esq., Bluefield, Governor’s Living the Dream Award