GROTON -- Instead of observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day off, students at Lawrence Academy honored the spirit of the leader by committing themselves to community service projects, celebrations of diversity and discussions about prejudice and empowerment.

LA's program began with students watching teachers and staff in a production of "8," a play based on the trial that overturned California's Proposition 8, which had banned gay marriage in that state.

Many students then left campus to perform service at area nonprofit organizations, and others participated in a variety of cultural sessions with African drummers, Eastern medicine singers and drummers, an Afro-Latin band, and traditional Cambodian, Chinese, and Irish step dancers.

Current students and alumni also led topical discussions and spoken word and dance workshops.