CORVALLIS - Sometimes, the simplest lessons are the most profound.
It only took Corvallis Primary School first-grade teacher Sandy Squillace two eggs to demonstrate to her class the fundamental flaws of racism on Monday afternoon, while commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
First, she asked her students to explain how the eggs were similar. They were both eggs, they were both the same size, and they were both the same shape. Their only difference? One was white, one was brown.
After passing the eggs around and asking her class to elaborate on their obvious physical difference - shell color - Mrs. Squillace left the room for a minute.
When she came back, she showed her curious kids a plate of two egg yolks.
"Can anyone tell which of these yolks came from the brown egg and which came from the white egg?" she asked.
The answers were unanimous: There was no difference.
When Squillace prompted her class to elaborate on how the egg lesson might translate to people, young Grace Robinson moved to the center of the group to give her speech. Her words echoed the sentiments of all her classmates.
"It shows that people might be a little different on the outside, but they have the same hearts on the inside," she said. "And you shouldn't treat people different because of what color their skin is."
The civil rights activist was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, but the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech from 1963 still lives on today. After the egg lesson on Monday, Mrs. Squillace asked each of her students to name their dream.
King's dream was to eliminate racism in America. The dreams of students at Corvallis Primary School were a bit more modest, but just as valid. Some wanted to become guitar players and singers, while others wanted to become police officers.
The students also spent Monday listening to a portion of King's speech, and read poems about his life.
Finally, they painted their hands, one white and one brown, and left their imprints on folders that contained their own future dreams that they'd written down.
Somewhere, Martin Luther King Jr. would have to be smiling at all that.
Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or email@example.com.