DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a former Milton Hershey School student turned staffer shared her personal connection to Dr. King’s legacy.
In 1995, Fonati Abrokwa was in fifth grade when Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, spoke to the student body at Milton Hershey School, and more than 15 years later, King’s message has never left her.
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“I understood that it was a huge moment then, but really didn’t understand that that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have her grace our school with her presence,” Abrokwa said.
Coretta Scott King spoke at commencement that year, but the whole student body was invited to attend. In her speech, she shared her husband’s philosophy of nonviolence and justice.
“When I look back, I’m like wow, the humility of this woman to speak to Milton Hershey School students just speaks to how humble she was and the service, the kind of service heart she had for others and that’s what MLK stood for,” Abrokwa said.
That message of service is still guiding Abrokwa more than 20 years later.
“As you look back and want to give back to others and give back to young people and it’s why I came back to Milton Hershey School,” she said.
Abrokwa now works at MHS as the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, a new position in the last two years.
“It allows us to keep equity at our forefront, this work, my role,” she said.
Abrokwa also said those principles of inclusion and equality are echoes of Dr. King’s legacy.
“MLK really embodied a lot of the premises that we have here,” she said.
As the school honors him on MLK Day in 2022, Abrokwa is still remembering Coretta Scott King’s words and working to bring her message to life.
“That’s what I remember her speaking to, that’s what the holiday should be for, us is really giving back,” Abrokwa said.
She also hopes that as King did for her, she can make an impact of her own.
“I’m the first in the role, but hopefully that will inspire other young women at our school, other young men at our school to really come back and want to give that service to our students as well,” she said.
MHS is also forming a team of people to look at how best to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the years to come. Abrokwa said they want to involve the whole community in serving others.