Freedom celebration adresses dehumanization

For one group of middle school students, freedom means more to them than having the choice if they should get chocolate or white milk at lunch.

Two Rivers Middle School and Northern Kentucky University showcased the Third annual Celebration of Freedom: Freedom-Focused Service Learning Nov. 30 in the University Center Ballroom.

The Celebration of Freedom addresses the problems of illiteracy and racial tensions in the community in ways to promote understanding of the American principles of freedom and democracy.

“The theme this year is more of dehumanization than slavery,” said Patty Boling, a reading/language arts teacher at Two Rivers. “There has been other mistreated groups in society.”

Students were able to showcase their projects ranging from Adolf Hitler to Rosa Parks in the University Center Ballroom. Computers lined at the back end of the room, where students showed their PowerPoints and aisles were made of several posters where teachers went around and asked the students to explain their projects.

According to Samantha Crumes, special-education teacher at Two Rivers, students met different activists throughout the school year and were able to pick their own subject.

The Celebration of Freedom has occurred at NKU three times. Students from Two Rivers were tutored and mentored by NKU students to enhance their learning processes and reading skills.

“NKU students have been such positive role models,” said Eric Neff, principle of Two Rivers. “That is a huge part to my students to know there is more to life after middle and high school.”

According to Jibby Brown, reading and writing coordinator at Two Rivers, the Celebration of Freedom program will lose its grant money in the next year. The money will go to a program in New Orleans, La., because of Hurricane Katrina.

However, Smith did not know anything on the progress of attaining new grants.

The Celebration of Freedom program was organized by NKU’s Institute for Freedom Studies, the Covington Independent School District, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Literacy in Northern Kentucky(LINK) and the Literary Network of Greater Cincinnati.