It is amazing how a vision can start, grow, morph and become a reality. Van White, President of The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) and  Rochester City School District School Board President, had a vision, and he had a dream.  His dream was to bring together students from across the county to have a face-to-face dialogue about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s speech, “I Have a Dream.”

On January 15, Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, students in classrooms from across the country, in Rochester, NY; New York City, NY; Camden, NJ; Tampa, FL; Tulsa, OK; Pontiac, MI; Ferguson, MO, and Los Angeles, CA came together in a 90-minute conversation to explore their viewpoints and feelings on civil rights. Students shared videos they had created, presented a mock trial, and read poems to express their beliefs.

Rochester City School District CIO Annmarie Lehner said, “This historic event allowed the country to hear our students’ perspectives on whether our country has achieved the dream Dr. King had for all citizens and this experience will be forever remembered by the students who had the opportunity to participate.”  Cisco WebEx made this event happen.

At Cisco, we all believe that turning vision into reality is not about technology, but about what technology makes happen.  We were honored to part of this history in the making.  President White thanked us: “Thanks to the hard work and expertise of Cisco staff, we were able to do something that has never been done before: create a national, digital classroom where the students are doing the teaching.”

You can view the recording and check out the ongoing conversation with #MLKDream on Twitter.


Cynthia Temesi

Innovation Advisor

Country Digital Acceleration