Martin Luther King Jr. celebration inspires

Members+of+the+Concordia+College+Gospel+Knights+perform+at+Convent+of+the+Sacred+Heart.%0AKatie+Nail+%2716

Members of the Concordia College Gospel Knights perform at Convent of the Sacred Heart. Katie Nail ’16

Excited students, faculty, and staff packed the Convent of the Sacred Heart gym, dancing and singing alongside the Vision Steppers and GospelKnights at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Members of the Concordia College Gospel Knights perform at Convent of the Sacred Heart. Katie Nail '16
Members of the Concordia College Gospel Knights perform at Convent of the Sacred Heart.
Katie Nail ’16

The focus of this year’s celebration was inspiration. Members of the GospelKnights and Vision Steppers inspired the entire audience to join in their songs and step dance routines.
“The GospelKnights and the Vision Steppers filled the room with cheer and joy, helping us remember the powerful actions of Martin Luther King,” sophomore Agatha Ryan said.
Concordia College’s choral program continues to be one of the most recognized and renowned in the region, according to Review Press. The program includes the Tour Choir, the GospelKnights, and the Festival Choir.
The GospelKnights perform annually at Sacred Heart for the Martin Luther King Jr. prayer service. The founder of the GospelKnights, Carson Stapleton, started the group in 1989 at Graham Elementary School in Mount Vernon, NY.

“The message that I want to send is yes we can. Why? Because a lot of these young people who join the choir they whisper, they have no rhythm. What you see now is not what they were when they first came. That’s the message we want to send. You can be anything you want. It’s a possibility,” Stapleton said.
This year, Stapleton wrote a song especially for Sacred Heart called “Take A Stand, and Make a Difference.” The student body sang along with the GospelKnights as they performed.
The Vision Steppers also roused the crowd with their step dancing, or stepping, which involves precise routines in which dancers create percussion with their hands and feet. Dabe James is the founder of the Vision Steppers. He started the group in 2001 out of the Immaculate Conception school in South Bronx, New York. The group began with just seven girls, and now has over 60 participants ranging from sixth to twelfth grade students.
“Our performances are about achievement, about unity, but also about individuality, strength and upward mobility,”  James said.
The GospelKnights and Vision Steppers were not the only ones electrifying the crowd. Sacred Heart senior Niame Traore gave a moving speech on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and how his mission can be fostered in the Sacred Heart community. 
“These are the moments in high school I will cherish forever. It was an honor to share my MLK reflection,”  Niame said.
– Katie Nail, Staff Writer