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MLK Celebration slated for January 15

After an interruption in annual celebrations that was caused by the COVID pandemic, the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will resume on Sunday, January 15, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, 601 Lilly Street. The reception will begin at 2:00 p.m., with festivities getting under way at 2:30. The public is invited, and admission is free.

This year’s theme is “Today’s Realities and Tomorrow’s Possibilities.” Students from local schools, selected during auditions on Dec. 12, 2022, will speak on the topic. This year’s students include Stella Jain and Ka’Niya Johnson-Hatcher. Two other students, Samantha Leon-Martinez and Estefani Lopez-Manzanarez, will be invited to give their speeches to the Madera County Board of Education in February. Each student receives a plaque and cash award.

Ruth Henderson, President of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Local Host Committee, will welcome guests, and Noel Jimenez, Principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, will be the day’s Master of Ceremonies. Cecilia “CeCe” Massetti, Madera County Superintendent of Schools, will introduce local officials, committee members, and student speakers.

Because the celebration had to be deferred last year, the Humanitarian of the Year award for 2021 will be presented this year to Chris DaSilva. He’ll be introduced by committee member Leonard Bass. Committee member Jim Glynn will introduce Rochelle Noblett as the 2022 Humanitarian of the Year.

Keynote speakers for the event will be Ronda Vaughn and Prince Marshall, Executive Director of Student and Family Support Services for the Madera Unified School District. Music for the event will be provided by a composite choir from local area schools. For additional information, please contact Karen Roget at


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