"He's a world shaker," said Constance Francois, a Baltimore Montessori eighth-grader. "He was the one who stood up. He was inspirational.

"If you think about it now, there are plenty of problems and issues that have to be faced in our generation," Francois said. "There's still discrimination against certain races and religions. I think it's good to look at all of our past world shakers to get ideas on how to change things that go on in our lifetime."

Cheyenne Clavin, 11, a sixth-grader at Franklin Middle School who visited the Lewis Museum Sunday with her father and younger sister, heard in King's famous speeches that "he tried to end racism," and said that struggle is still important because "people are still racist today, and it's not fair."

It's important that students see King in the light of today's world, and Friday's conference offered them opportunities to learn personal traits in line with King's message, said LaUanah King-Cassell, principal of St. James and John School.

"He was always an advocate for everyone being involved in the struggle, not just the adults, but youth as well," said King-Cassell. "Coming together today represents his life."

Hutton and Scott said an incident at school Thursday illustrated the messages they discussed on Friday. Scott said that a classmate, who is much smaller than him, hit him in the head with a golf ball. Scott was angry, but refrained from striking back.

"I said I was going to beat him up. But he was this little guy," Scott said. "I thought about it, and I just calmed down."

In doing so, Scott said, he later felt he had been the "bigger person."

Hutton agreed, "Literally."

Joseph.burris@baltsun.com

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com