AISD Celebrates MLK, African-American Heritage Month

Throughout the months of January and February, AISD schools and offices are honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and observing African-American heritage month through a series of celebrations across various district campuses.



  • On Tuesday, Jan. 15, staff members from the Carruth Administration Center celebrated MLK on the anniversary of his birth with a special reception that featured music from the Dobie Middle School choir and a special message from superintendent Meria Carstarphen. The annual district celebration of King also called on AISD students to submit essays to be shared at the event. Travis High School Senior Cantrell Gains, Kealing Middle School Student Keyanna Mack and Austin High School Senior Devin Domino each shared essays inspired by King's words, " The time is always right to do the right thing."

  • Students at Murchison Middle School interviewed their peers about the importance of celebrating MLK day in a 1-minute video segment for Murchison News Now, a bi-monthly video magazine produced by the school's theater arts department.

  • Approximately 200 students, parents and staff members from Perez Elementary School participated in Austin's MLK March on Jan. 21.

  • Students in the Bailey Middle School Wind Ensemble represented AISD and the State of Texas when they performed at the 2013 Inaugural Festival in Washington, D.C.  The ensemble was handpicked to perform Jan. 19, just days before the historic Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21, which coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The students spent MLK Day at the very spot King delivered the historic "I have a dream" speech 50 years ago.

  • To honor the legacy of MLK, art by students from Matthews Elementary School were on display Jan. 19 at Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church during their Peace Through Pie celebration.



  • Travis High School hosted a Peace Through Pie celebration that encouraged students, teachers and community members to celebrate their shared experiences over a warm piece of pie.  Students in the school's culinary program provided the pies, with music and entertainment provided by mariachi and guitar students.  More than 200 guests attended the event, including Phil Korshak of Homeslice Pizza, Texas Rep. Dawnna Dukes and Peace Through Pie founder Luanne Stovall. The celebration, part of the school's No Place for Hate initiative, took place Friday, Jan. 25 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Travis High School cafeteria, 1211 E. Oltorf. T
  • In addition to participating in the Austin MLK March, Perez Elementary School held a school-wide assembly at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 1 to celebrate the start of African-American Heritage Month.
  • Beginning the week of Jan. 28, Pleasant Hill Elementary School hostedd a special African-American themed Reader's Theater—an after-school program for third and fourth grade students which will incorporate themes and stories focused on African-American Heritage Month. During the class, students learned about King and African-American singer Marian Anderson, and had the opportunity to perform a play about the leaders at the conclusion of the 5-week course. Students were responsible for designing and creating the sets, building the props, directing and acting in the play that teachers, administrators and family members had the opportunity to watch in the school's library. Additionally, third fourth and fifth grade students performed a Reader's Theater about the African-American folktale "Wiley and the Hairy Man."
  • Martin Middle School hosted a multicultural assembly on campus, which featured a culturally diverse dance performance and readings of African-American poetry. Throughout the month, the school also posed African-American Heritage Month themed trivia questions to students, with prizes given out each week to students from each grade with the most correct responses.
  • Music teachers at Cowan Elementary School taught traditional African-American folk songs to students in every grade level throughout the month of February. The school also put on a morning assembly featuring a school-wide choral performance of "Sing About Martin" which students were taught to perform in sign language.
  • Students in the Clayton Elementary School music program benefited from special lessons that focused on famous African-American musicians, including Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and more.
  • Students at Pease Elementary School are learned 10 songs that relate to the life of MLK and African-American heritage, including "Lift Every Voice and Sing," "Stand by Me" and "If I Had a Hammer."
  • At Zavala Elementary School, students in third through sixth grade attended a special black history concert where campus leaders will present music and art to students that celebrates African-American heritage. The choir also performed in February during a special program that features a play and short biographies of prominent African-American figures.  Additionally, daily announcements were shared with students—incorporating special moments in black history and accounts of accomplishments of famous African Americans.
  • The Austin community is invited to attend the 30th Annual Austin ISD African American Heritage Celebration, where many of AISD’s finest students and community leaders will be honored. This year’s celebration was held on Sunday, February 24 at 3:00 PM at the Palmer Event Center, celebrating the theme Tomorrow's Leaders: Education is the Future.