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Students Recognized At Annual MLK Banquet

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – The Northwest Arkansas Doctor Martin Luther King Council held a day filled with events to memorialize the late civil rights activist on Mo...

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – The Northwest Arkansas Doctor Martin Luther King Council held a day filled with events to memorialize the late civil rights activist on Monday (Jan. 19.)

The day ended with the “Banquet Fit For A King,” which NWA MLK Council President Beverly Keown said served as a time to honor Dr. King, while bringing the community together over a meal.

“Whenever you`re giving back to the community, you`re just helping build up your community,” Keown said.

Hundreds gathered in Fayetteville at the town center for the banquet, which also presented awards and scholarships to some students.

University or Arkansas senior Ayana Gray was one of the honorees.

“To be at a banquet in honor of someone so humble, and hardworking, that he would literally give his life for me to have so much; its amazing,” Gray said.

Gray was given the Rodney Momon Youth Award, which recognizes a student who's been an inclusive and progressive leader in the community.

“I`ve been to this banquet before as a guest. But, to be here as an award recipient for my senior year is amazing,” Gray said. “[It shows] so many people believe in you, and have recognized your hard work, enough to where they want to give you an award.”

Gray says she was humbled to be recognized, especially at a banquet named after one of the most influential leaders in United States history.

“It is nice to be recognized, but that definitely isn`t what motivates me to do it,” Gray said. “I have a younger brother, I have mentors, I have sorority sisters, and a lot of people who I feel look up to me. I want to be able to set a good example, and feel like I am paying back the people, who believed in me, like my parents.”

Gray says she plans to carry this award with her after she graduates in May, as she looks to pursue either education, or law school.