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Education Secretary Joins Service Project At Dunbar High

Hundreds gather for MLK day of service at historic D.C. school

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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan paints a mural at Dunbar High School in D.C. during a day of service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
 
Markette Smith
  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan paints a mural at Dunbar High School in D.C. during a day of service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   

D.C.'s top leaders in education and government commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today with a day of service at the city's most historic high school.

Cheers kicked off a campus-wide beautification project at Dunbar High School in Northwest D.C., the nation's first public high school built for black students. D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson pumped up the a crowd of nearly 1,000 volunteers, and delivered a message for students. 

"In order to be successful in anything, in order to graduate from high school, in order to move on to do whatever you’re going to do in life, you have to serve," she said.

Dunbar alumnus and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who were on hand for the day of service, said the project at the historic site is the perfect setting to honor Dr. King.

"This is the best possible way to commemorate the birthday of a man who lived and died for service," Norton said. 

United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, clad in a sweatshirt and jeans, painted a mural in Dunbar's cafeteria.

"I think it's such a huge opportunity for us to come together: rich, poor, black white, Hispanic, doesn't matter," Duncan said. "All of us working together to create a better learning environment, a better school."

The National Day of Service was created by an Act of Congress in 1994, and much like King’s movement, Duncan says it takes a lifetime of commitment.

"If you do it once a year, that’s not really Dr. King’s legacy," he says. "This is about every single day, not in words, but in actions and deeds."

The even was organized by the group City Year.

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