In observance of every national holiday, Montrose Christian Montessori School takes time to pay tribute to historic figures and events during its flag ceremony.
On Friday, Jan. 13, the school celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King by releasing 100% biodegradable latex balloons with meaningful notes on seed tissue inside of them, thanks to the support of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), approval from the city and donations from La Crescenta Ralphs.
PTO President Armineh Manookian brought the idea to Montessori as a fond memory she had from her experience in grade school. One of the balloons that Manookian’s classmate released landed on a gravesite many years ago. After visiting that gravesite, a relative took the balloon with the school’s information on it and contacted the school.
The note provided great hope to the relative as they shared how thankful they were to have received that special gift on their loved one’s grave.
This year Montessori students were encouraged to write down dreams that involved others. Their notes – some of which were religious in nature, others more secular – were inserted into the balloons and released.
Sixth grader William wrote, “I have a dream that one day people from all races would get together and praise God’s name.”
Student Madelyn wrote, “I have a dream that one day people will be accepted for who they really are.”
After singing songs and reciting poems about Dr. King, all students, at the direction of fifth/sixth grade instructor Armond Gharakhanian, released their balloons in unison.
Each year Gharakhanian focuses on a different aspect of Dr. King’s life, this year the students learned about the Birmingham letter.
Public relations officer of the PTO April Rushing said that she hopes that the children learn the importance of Dr. King and his influence on American history.
“The kids were in awe after letting the balloons go. I think it definitely made a lasting impression on them and helped illustrate how small actions can have a big impact,” Rushing said, adding that it’s important to have dreams and to share those dreams.
The school is considering making the balloon release an annual event.