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Varnett students march in annual parade in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dressed in purple and white and displaying lots of energy, 44 Northeast Campus students Monday marched in the 21st Annual MLK Grande Parade on the national holiday honoring  the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The theme of the parade was “The Color of Unity” and featured 15 floats, 30 marching bands, and of course, Varnett’s very own students as they performed and waved pom poms during the one-mile parade route in Midtown.

The students, all girls, were accompanied by Ms. Fisher, the Northeast Campus director;  Ms. Medina, the school nurse who spearheaded Varnett’s participation in the parade, Ms. Wyatt, the 3rd through 5th grade curriculum coordinator for the Northeast and East campuses, and several enthusiastic parents.

They marched behind a banner emblazoned with “The Varnett Public School -- Cheer Dolls,” that also featured the district logo. Ms. Medina and others threw 500 Frisbees bearing Varnett’s name and web address into the crowd of several thousand onlookers.  It was the fourth time Varnett students have been a part of the Grande Parade.

“This was a great opportunity for the students to show their talent and to boost self-esteem and student morale through the whole school,” Ms. Medina said. “It was a day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and show our kids the importance of his civil rights legacy.”

It so happened that U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston joined the parade after it started;  the vehicle she was riding in snuggled right in front of the Varnett team. At the end of the route, she got out of the car, briefly addressed the students about her job and posed for pictures.

The chance meeting with Jackson Lee was “a good opportunity to hear someone they can look up to for what she has achieved," Ms. Medina said.

For the girls, ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade, the parade was rewarding experience under perfect weather conditions. They were chosen based on their good grades and behavior and spent a week practicing their routines.

"It's important for our children to understand the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to participate in such a spirited community event," Ms. Fisher said.

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