Clark State College will host a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration with a virtual event on Tuesday, January 18 beginning at 3 p.m.
“Clark State is honored to be part of the MLK celebration each year,” said Dr. Ronald Gordon, dean of enrollment services at Clark State. “It is not only an opportunity to recognize Dr. King's sacrifices and dedication to civil rights for everyone, but it is also a chance for students to be acknowledged for carrying on his legacy.”
Coach Tray Huntsman, founder of Huntsman Elite, will be the keynote speaker.
Huntsman hails from Pasadena, California and pursued his bachelor’s degree at Central State University in engineering. His coaching experience includes a variety of skill levels in elementary, junior high, high school, NAIA and Division II college basketball.
Coach Tray is an elite instructor of the game of basketball and his focus is providing intensive training essentials for improvement in the players’ basketball skills. Huntsman is eager, passionate, and determined about not only teaching the game of basketball, but building character, leadership, and respect on and off the court. This faith-based program is based on the popular verse, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Failure is no option.
“Huntsman Elite is a cool story,” said Huntsman. “I was going through a tough time in my life, and I started training a few kids in a barn in the country. The kids and families were so touched by the sincere investment in their kids that they wanted people to know they were trained by me. So, they suggested that I make gear for them to wear. That forced me to come up with a name. After pondering for weeks what I was going to name it, I decided to go with Huntsman Elite. The acronym is HE and also stood for God.”
While Huntsman hasn’t yet locked in a title for his presentation, he said the message will be in the arena of, “’Are we honoring those who sacrificed their lives?’ ‘Are we doing our part?’ ‘Are we taking advantage of our 24 hours?’ ‘Are we a victim or victor?’”
Huntsman’s three-time nationally ranked AAU program has recently finished 7th in the Nation. Coach Tray is currently working on his first book and podcast.
The annual Peacemaker Awards will also be presented to 12 local high school students recognized for their ability to resolve conflict in a positive way and assist in bridging cultural and social differences within their schools. Clark State and the City of Springfield started the Peacemaker program in the 1980s.
“These students have shown the commitment to continue Dr. King’s work by promoting equality for all in their daily life functions and are well deserving of receiving the Peacekeeper Award,” said Gordon.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. virtual celebration will officially denote the soft-start of Clark State’s February Black History Month celebration.