MLK Day Speaker
MLK Program 2014
Cadets stood at parade rest and listened to sound bytes of inspirational speeches, as Camden Military Academy began its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day assembly January 20, 2014 at the Cline Chapel.
Mr. Brett Kendall opened the program with a prayer and recalled for the corps a question Dr. King would have asked of them: “What are you doing for others?”
Following Mr. Kendall’s remarks, J’Den Robertson read the poem “I, Too” by Langston Hughes. The poem, associated with the Harlem Renaissance, was written about racial inequality and the speaker’s affirmation that he too is part of America, despite racial mistreatment by whites.
After Cadet Robertson’s stirring reading, Cadet Lachlan Burke called forth the color guard to present colors, after which the corps of cadets and the faculty and staff joined voices in singing “America the Beautiful.” Colonel Boland then took the stage to introduce the event’s key-note speaker, Coach Ricardo Priester.
Coach Priester, a 1994 graduate of CMA, played basketball for (then Athletic Director) Colonel Boland. He went to Wingate University on a full basketball scholarship, graduated and soon found himself back at CMA as the Head Basketball Coach. Then, in the fall of 2003, Coach Priester left to pursue his life-long dream of playing professional basketball. He eventually returned to South Carolina and is now the Head Basketball Coach for Lancaster High School.
Coach Priester, as a former cadet himself, began by relating to the corps. He talked about classes, grades, homesickness and issues he knew about from when he was a cadet at CMA. He subsequently discussed some strategies and tactics espoused by Dr. King. He addressed the issue of “keeping the dream alive.” Coach Priester talked about the importance of treating our fellow humans as we ourselves would wish to be treated.
In addition, Coach Priester addressed “keeping the faith,” not giving up and embracing leadership. He also talked about Rosa Parks and the importance of sacrifices made by her and other civill rights activists.
In closing, Cadet Xavier Anderson read the lyrics to “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song by James Weldon Johnson. His reading was followed by remarks by Colonel Boland. Colonel Boland told the cadets that the true measure of their character was not how they behaved or reacted during easy times, but where they stood in times of crisis.
Mr. Kendall finished the program with a prayer.