This Monday, over 150 people from Stoneham and surrounding communities gathered to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is the 13th year in Stoneham that this event has been hosted, and this year proved to be extremely successful, both attracting a large audience and providing two hours of moving speakers and high energy performances.
Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham, Gerry Deviller stated, “This was a spectacular event that continues to bring together the community to embrace the themes of equality and service to the community. I am very impressed with this year’s turn out and look forward to hosting this event for years to come.”
The Stoneham MLK Celebration maintained a strong balance between the expression of performers and the moving words of speakers from the community. Randy Perillo, of Know Our Town, did an excellent job as an MC of the event; seamlessly introducing performers and speakers. Several performers shared their talents to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This event featured a wide variety of performers including Stoneham Star winner, Riley Moriarty, Club Alum, Amanda Rocca, a cheerleading performance from Stoneham’s Cheer Your Heart Out cheerleading group, and a dance routine from Synergy Dance Studio led by Samantha Cresta.
In addition to the above mentioned performers, the choir group, L.I.F.E., made a major impact on the crowd. Their performance channeled the energy of Dr. King through beautiful harmonies and a steady groove provided by their backing band. Everyone in the audience was up on their feet, singing and clapping along to this group’s phenomenal performance.
For this event, a number of leaders in the community were selected to speak on the topic of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Stoneham Rotary President, David Gardner talked about the importance of serving one’s community and how Rotary is deeply committed on the local and international levels to bettering the lives of others. Also, State Representative Jason Lewis provided a heartfelt account of his experience living his early life in South Africa during Apartheid and how his experience living during this tumultuous time period motivates him to advocate for equality among all people.
An ongoing tradition for this event is naming a Community Award winner that embodies the character and commitment to service of the community displayed by Dr. King. This year, The Committee responsible for organizing this event received a large number of nominations for this prestigious award. Maureen McGinness, Event Chair for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Stoneham, was selected as the recipient for this year’s award. The committee selected Maureen due to her dedication to the local community and this group felt she best captured the spirit of Dr. King. Under Maureen’s leadership, the Relay for Life in Stoneham was named the #1 new community event for the New England Relay for Life which raised over $110,000.