"Today is sort of a sad occasion, but it is also a joyous occasion," Gerri Perry said to a group of students pausing from their regular schedule to observe Rosa Parks.
Perry is the Director of Development at St. Jude High School. She says, "We try to encourage our young people to know as much about their history as possible."
Students in social studies were assigned to write about the impact Rosa Parks has made in their words.
High school senior, Joe Callaway, says "With my essay, I was aiming basically to give credit to Rosa Parks, but also those who did the same thing she did, but didn't get the same recognition."
Some students were selected to read their essays and give everyone more time to reflect.
Amy White, another senior and essay writer, says, "The school being a part of the civil rights movement, I thought it was very necessary for us to have a program and for everyone to have a part in it."
In the 1960's, the City of Saint Jude served as a safe haven for freedom fighters answering the call led by courageous people like Rosa Parks.
Julian McIntyre says, "I believe that she was a woman who, in my words, was sent by God to do something on this Earth."
The program was held in Saint Jude's Freedom Gallery, housing a growing collection of artwork dedicated to the civil rights movement.