The Rev. Robert Little pointed out into the crowd of students assembled in the Havelock Middle School gymnasium.


The Rev. Robert Little pointed out into the crowd of students assembled in the Havelock Middle School gymnasium.



“Greatness lies within you, and you, and you,” Little said.



Little, pastor of Piney Grove A.M.E. Zion Church, was the featured speaker at the school’s Black History Month program called “With Our Minds Set On Freedom: Advancing Justice, Realizing The Dream” last week.



Enhancing the mindsets of students was Little’s aim. Every one of them, he said, could achieve great things if they just tried.



Faculty members sang the Negro National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Band director Mark Lorek played “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his saxophone.



More than 50 years have passed since Dr. Martin Luther King’s Aug. 22, 1963, speech to hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. in which he exalted a desire for freedom and equality for all people.



“Years later Dr. King’s dream is still just a dream,” Little said. “We still have a long way to go.”



Little asked what the students of Havelock Middle School could do to help realize King’s dream. He told them that they could accomplish it by seeking to accomplish their own dreams.



“Don’t listen to doubters and haters because you can make it. You can fulfill your destiny,” Little said. “You will encounter obstacles but don’t give up.”



He encouraged them to hold onto their dreams.



“Greatness is not based on who your parents are, where you live, the color of your skin, your nationality, ethnicity or race,” Little said. “Greatness is determined by your desire to succeed, so go on students. You can be successful. You can achieve your dreams. You can make a positive contribution from Havelock Middle School.”



Two community leaders were recognized at the program. Pastor Mark Woods, of Cherry Point United Methodist Church, was honored for his efforts to organize free lunches and a giveaway of backpacks and school supplies for students of the school. Also honored was Hillmon George, the school’s basketball coach who led the team to five championships in a row.



In a surprise honor, Principal Tabari Wallace received a plaque of appreciation from the staff for his commitment to the school.