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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘Beyond textbooks and exams’: Khan Lab School Wichita director highlights lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Kyle Ellison, founding director of Khan Lab School Wichita and former executive director of Real Men Real Heroes, was a keynote speaker at the event. In his speech, “Dr. King’s Dream: Education in the 21st Century,” he discussed his journey of innovating education through MLK’s lessons and accomplishments.

“MLK said, ‘One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is totally wrong.’ He goes on to talk about the need to bring together head, heart, and intelligence,” Ellison said. “I believe we have to recognize that true wisdom goes beyond textbooks and exams.”

Ellison said that education has become almost exclusively focused on academic growth instead of emotional intelligence. 

“I am a firm believer that schools should be preparing young people for the world just waiting for them,” Ellison said, “Which means it should be a reflection of the world as much as possible.”

Ellison intends to enact this change starting with his own school. He wishes to provide students with internship and shadowing opportunities to help them decide whether their future career is the right fit for them. Since the beginning of his journey, his ideas have evolved.

Along with vocational preparation and personalized experiences for students, Ellison said that “the purpose of education is to teach young people to be productive members of society.”

Ellison said schools should teach students to care for their surrounding community and use their abilities and passions for the betterment of their world.

“Young people are crazy,” Ellison said. “And really, that’s perfect until society tells them they can’t be, all the things they can’t do, the rules they can’t break”.

The Commemoration event aimed to honor MLK’s historical significance and legacy. 

“I think events like this are important to highlight,” Clarence Albury,  event organizer, said. “There is beauty in diversity, and we should celebrate that diversity. And we should never feel as though in celebrating that adversity that we’re stepping on any toes or doing anything that might, you know, be indifferent to anyone else.”

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About the Contributors
Fatima Touffaha
Fatima Touffaha, Reporter
Fatima Touffaha is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower.
Gavin Stephens
Gavin Stephens, Photographer
Gavin Stephens is a first-year photographer with The Sunflower.

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    Karen CayceFeb 12, 2024 at 7:55 pm

    This is Ms Karen , I would like to talk with you about your school at your convenience. There’s a young man I’m trying to help out. Like to talk with you and get your feedback.