Living

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Importance and History

Olivia Brown

Martin Luther King Jr. day is a day that everyone in this country has acknowledged whether it be in school, at work or just a regular day. Martin Luther King Jr. has been one of America’s important figures for many people. 

King was born in Georgia on January 15,1929 to Michael King Sr. and Alberta King. The first time King had saw someone stand up to discrimination was when he was a little kid. 

His father had taken him shoe shopping and one of the employees had told them they needed to sit in the back, his father then took Martin’s hand and left the store. He then told his son after the incident happened, “I don’t care how long I have to live with this system, I will never accept it.”

Later on, in March 1955, a 15 year old girl, named Claudette Calvin had refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, violating the Jim Crow Laws. King, who was on the Birmingham African-American committee heard about the case and the leaders of the committee decided to have minimal involvement in the case and hold out to pursue another case. 

Nine months later something similar had occurred with a woman named Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on the bus and was arrested. This event led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott lasting 385 days. 

The involvement of King in the boycott led to his house getting bombed as well as getting arrested. This resulted in a U.S district ruling that ended all segregation on Montgomery buses. 

King’s leadership and activism involvements such as the Birmingham campaign and the Selma Voting Rights Movement are important but one of his greatest moments was the march on Washington in 1963. 

In August 1963, about 250,000 people were gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. demanding the end to racial discrimination, segregation in schools, protection of civil right workers from police brutality, etc.; The Lincoln Memorial is where King gave a famous 17 minute “I Have A Dream” speech.


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” King said. 

Unfortunately, Mr. King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4,1968 as he stood on the second floor balcony of his motel. Despite having emergency chest surgery,  he died an hour after he was shot. 

In 1971, cities like St. Louis, Missouri created holidays to honor MLKJr. and what he had done for the black community. On Nov. 2, 1984, President Ronald Regan signed a federal bill to honor King on January 20,1986. During George H. W. Bush presidency, the holiday was to be every third monday in January each year near his birthday.

Cold Days, Warm Hearts

Emily Viers

Every kid dreams of waking up in the morning as they rush out of bed hoping to see the ground will be covered in snow, and to hear parents saying that school has been cancelled. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has changed that for a lot of families due to the new online learning system. 

“I used to be excited to have a day off, I looked forward to the relaxation ahead of me, as I would go to shuffle around in the snow and spend family time building snowmen,” Ava Gonzalez said.

For some individuals, things will be different this winter but the NCLA is doing its best to ensure students and staff’s safety and well-being. 

The pandemic has brought a lot of questions and concerns to NCLA families as they are having to adjust to the online learning system. The most important question being “Will snow days be adjusted to fit our hybrid schedule?”

Will we have snow days

 “It will depend, most of the time it will be made to fit our hybrid schedule, the good thing about that is it won’t extend our school year. The teachers have the option to lighten the workload that day depending on the class schedule,” Ms.Wood said. 

Virtual learning snow days could be the new normal but there is some slight convenience to it. For students, this could mean no more extended summers and no more rescheduling important tests or classwork. 

“For me, virtual learning snow days has its ups and downs because you don’t have an extended year and you need to attend school. School is a very important thing but once again I feel as if we should also have a snow day off to relax,” Mackenzie Green said.

The NCLA Family

Elaina Pascavage

The NCLA is a charter school unlike other types of schools. The school  is built on the support from families and staff. Many staff members have even brought their own children to NCLA because of its promising potential. 

“My mom was excited about applying for my sister and I to get into NCLA,” Nora Wood said, referring to her mom, Mrs. Wood.

Nora Wood came about one year after her mom began working at the school. Her sister Layla started the year before that. The Wood family always had big ideas and expectations on where the school was heading and NCLA has not disappointed them. 

Some NCLA families discovered the school from friends who sent their kids there. After families heard great reviews from staff, students, and families, many wanted to see the infamous school for themselves.

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Brannan family

Gabriella Durr has a little sister, Adaline Pallaci in second grade at NCLA. Adaline came a year before Gabriella did, allowing their family to have a first hand experience about what  the NCLA really was about. After loving the falcon experience, the family decided to have Gabriella apply as a rising sophomore. 

“My mom saw how great Adaline was doing there, we decided that applying to NCLA this year would be a better fit for all of us,” Gabriella Durr said.

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Agbemabiese Family

Being in a smaller school gives more opportunities to have closer relations to teachers and fellow students. The teachers give students the attention they need in order to academically succeed as well as giving opportunities in athletics. 

After being homeschooled till sixth grade, Cade and Troy Shoemaker researched charter schools and found The NCLA. Once they started attending, their mom began subbing, eventually working in the front office. A  few semesters later their dad left Ragsdale High School and now teaches at the NCLA and is the basketball coach as well. .

“I like our school because it is smaller and you are able to get to know everyone,” Cade Shoemaker said.

Workplace Importance

Eliana Cotten

During this time of online school, it’s important to have a designated area to work on assignments. Students’ grades, productivity and overall health improve with a clear workplace. 

“I think grades are influenced by your work space because a designated place allows people to be more organized and focused on school, whereas if it’s a different space everyday or it’s chaotic then they cannot focus,” high school english teacher Mrs. Birchenough said.

Studies have shown that working at a flat surface, such as a desk or table makes it easier to concentrate on the task at hand. A work place other than your bed forces the brain into work mode. 

Student home workplace
Taken by Sylvia Sellmer

“I have only worked in my bed a few times but when I do I’m more distracted than I am anywhere else. I’ll just start trying to do things that aren’t school which I won’t do when I’m at other places in the house,” seventh grader Alora Crayton said.

According to Business News Daily, having a plant, opportunities for movement, and cleanliness are three essential things you should have in your workplace. All of these things allow for more creativity and energy to do  work and provide motivation to accomplish things.

“I think the workplace should be quiet if possible, and free of personal devices such as cell phones,” Mrs. Birchenough said.

It is also important to have good lighting and a routine before school starts. Lighting will help your eyes focus, and will force you to stay awake instead of going back to bed. Having a routine such as a skincare routine or walking your dog, will wake you up and tell your brain it’s time to work. 

“Since your bed is designated as relax space, it tells your body that that’s where you relax whereas a workplace tells your body ‘this is where it’s time to go to work,’” Mrs. Birchenough said.

Being in a designated workplace also allows for a broader attention span to the work that is being done rather than being comfortable in bed. 

Students homework place
Taken by Celeste Paradis

“Now that we have google meets it takes me from 8am to about 3:50pm to be done with all my work. I think when I’m more comfortable I work slower or get more distracted than I do when I’m not,” Alora Crayton said. 

Even so, many kids still work in their beds even because of a clear lack of motivation as well as the clear difference in grades. Working in disorganization and chaos should not happen when it should be orderly and calm.

“Probably about 10% of my kids work in their beds.” Mrs. Birchenough said. “I require my cameras to be on so I can tell. They do it because it’s comfortable and they don’t want to move. It’s laziness.”

2021 Goals and Plans for Students 

Ellie Gibhardt 

Going into 2021, students have many new plans and goals for the year. From spring break to college tours, NCLA students are looking forward to everything that the new year will bring.  

“I think planning events can encourage the seniors and give us something to look forward to! 12 of us senior girls plan on going to the beach right after graduation! I am super excited! Also I am looking forward to attending Appalachian State this fall! I look forward to meeting new people and living on my own,” Christine Parker said.

Seniors look forward to graduating and spending the summer with friends. Staying busy during these times can help encourage everyone to do their best while finishing out the 2020-2021 school year. 

“I met some potential roommates yesterday and we might be touring Wilmington and looking at dorms together soon so that’s exciting!! Also beach week and I’m going to the mountains for my birthday,” Madison Jennings said.

As rules start to change regarding travelling, several students look forward to vacations this year.

“I’m going to the Outer Banks and Canada,” Celeste Paradis said.

Travelling across the country is another big plan for some of our students this year.

“I am flying to Oregon for a week and a half for my brother’s wedding and to see sights and family,” Abigail Brannan said.

Planning a trip to the beach is always one of the best things to do in the summer.

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Ellie Gibhardt and Maria Fleak

“I plan to go on vacation this summer to Kiawah Island in hopes that things will be better by then. With the vaccine, I believe things will only get better,” Maria Fleak said.

Myles Pugh added, “I also plan to spend my summer at the beach.”

Spring break this year is going to be March 29th through April 2nd. 

“Over spring break every year my family and I drive down to Florida to go visit my dad’s side of the family,” Brooke Planes said.

Despite summer and spring break plans, right now is still a great time to go skiing.

“I am going skiing next weekend. We are also thinking about going to Canada if Covid gets better,” Nora Wood said.

Sports are another thing to look forward to this year, since some restrictions are starting to be lifted. Whether it’s games to play or goals to focus on, students are excited about playing again.

“For basketball this year I am focusing on limiting my turnovers,” Cade Shoemaker said.

“This summer I plan to be traveling all over from Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee for softball tournaments,” Laura Ritchie said.