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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A day of service and parades are being held Monday as a tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Governor Ron DeSantis began his day at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Event at Piney Grove Boys Academy in Lauderdale Lakes where he said he will push to eliminate the waiting list for scholarships that help low-income children attend private K-12 schools such as theirs.

“Education is more than about just the X’s and O’s of this subject or that. It’s about character, it’s about integrity, and it’s about instilling values,” he told the students.

Piney Grove is affiliated with Piney Grove Baptist Church, one of the oldest black churches in Broward County. It serves 85 children in grades K-12, is accredited and shows outstanding results on standardized tests. Most of its students rely on a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, available to students from low-income and working class households.

The students there say they know the importance of a quality education.

“My parents didn’t really go to college. They would love for me to go to college and this is why school is very important for us because it gives us more education,” said one student.

“It prepares you for the future, it prepares you for everything, and that’s why you should never, ever jump out of school,” said another student.

In Ft. Lauderdale, their annual parade kicked off at 9 a.m. from Lincoln Park, 600 NW 19th Avenue. It then proceeded east on Sistrunk Boulevard, south on 7th Avenue to Esplanade Park at 400 S.W. 2nd Street for the King Holiday Celebration of Unity and Multicultural Festival.

“It’s about giving in, it’s about giving back to your community, and supporting your family,” said Chara Grooms.

“Knowing where our roots came from and knowing all the great things he has done for us, we’re celebrating in his name,” said Sanai Gordon.

More than 2,000 volunteers are taking part in Broward College’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day of service. The volunteers are beautifying public spaces, packing care packages, creating an outdoor learning garden and mini-libraries.

The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project held its 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Special guests included actor/film director/political activist Danny Glover, actress/philanthropist Jo Marie Payton, film producer Will Packer, and actor Jussie Smollett.

Forty-seven students were awarded scholarships for academic and personal achievements.

In Miami, thousands lined the streets for the annual parade honoring King which kicked off at 11 a.m. The three-hour parade travels along N.W. 54th Street from N.W. 12th Avenue to N.W. 19th Avenue, then west on 54th Street.

The City of Miami Gardens and North Miami are hosting a day of service.

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