Dr. King’s Legacy Continues With Leesburg’s MLK Commemoration Committee’s CommUnity Breakfast

James Pressley, keynote speaker


LEESBURG – The annual Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. CommUnity Breakfast, as usual, educated, entertained, recognized community activists, and continued to keep the legacy of Dr. King, the Civil Rights icon, alive in the hearts and minds of the Lake County community Friday morning, January 12, 2024.

Despite rain and wind, many people braved the weather conditions and attended the 7:30 am. event with the theme: “Standing United in Times of Change, Challenge and Controversy.”  Community fellowship, a hot full breakfast with all the trimmings are always on the menu.  Held at Venetian Center at One Dozier Circle in Leesburg, Florida, the community occasion was sponsored by the Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Commemoration Committee of Leesburg (MLKCC).

Obviously, the attentive participants were lifted up with an informative discourse by keynote speaker James C. Presley, a well-known and nationally recognized educator and Principal of Sumter Prep Academy in Wildwood, Florida,

He astounded the audience, which included some educators, when he asked: “What do you do when a student does something positive?” When a Sumter Prep Academy student accumulates three positive write-ups, his parents are notified and a celebration is held at the end of the week, Mr. Presley said.

For the most part, schools are still dealing with non-traditional students-not the bad students-with traditional standards,” revealed Mr. Pressley. “We have to change the narrative,” Mr. Presley commanded. “Challenge the culture of the alternative school’s education system!”

Dr. King said: “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. … You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Well, the opportunity to support Dr. King’s sentiment was real when MLKCC’s Breakfast Committee Chairperson Lillian Lockette presented Community Service awards to individuals who have done something to improve their community.

Lake County School Board Superintendent Diane Kornegay and Lake Sumter State College President Heather Bigard provided brief statements. Superintendent Kornegay proudly informed the audience that Lake County Schools has a 92 percent graduation rate with 4000 individual certifications. President Bigard awarded five $1000.00 scholarships to the MLKCC for distribution to local high school graduates who will attend college for the 2024 fall semester.

Proclamations were presented by commissioners representing Lake County and Leesburg Commissions.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Committee of Leesburg CommUnity breakfast truly honored this year’s theme. The attendance demonstrated the many citizens of Leesburg’s commitment to Dr. King’s Dream, stated Ms. Lillian Lockette.  “We will meet all challenges and will move forward, despite the many roadblocks put in our way. We are a strong people ready to fight for our rights and must stay united.”

Awardees were the African American Heritage Club of Plantation, Inc.; Crissy Stile, Mayor of Mt. Dora; Allyson Berry, Leesburg City Commissioner; Mrs. Christine Hamilton; and Ms. Carolyn Fennell. Ms. Elsie Broomfield, a Eustis activist, celebrated becoming a centenarian on December 22, 2023. She passed on to glory on January 8, 2024. Ms. Broomfield was awarded posthumously.

Ms. Carolyn Samuel, President of MLKCC said, “The MLK CommUnity Breakfast, this year, reminded me of the emphasis on service that was Dr. King’s legacy. We are grateful for the persons who participated in the program and all of the persons who attended.  It is always our goal to keep the memory alive.”