AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- Justin Evans will go to Morehouse College this fall, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He studied Dr. King last summer as part of a select group chosen for a leadership program in Atlanta.
"That kind of opened my eyes up to be like, 'Wow, this is a place I want to attend and be successful like MLK,'" he said.
The Plainfield North High School senior said the civil rights icon has inspired him ever since.
"As long as we continue to use our voice, I believe that we can continue to keep the movement of Dr. King alive," he said.
Evans is also part of a mentoring group in Aurora called, "Boys 2 Men." Their leader, Clayton Muhammad, called this special meeting at city hall.
"These young people of course weren't around when he was here, so it's integral to look 50 years later and see the work that they're doing from academics, to social justice to the ministry," he said. "They're so key to perpetuating the King legacy."
Alonso Cisneros, a senior at West Aurora High School, is the recipient of New York University's MLK Scholar Award. He said King helps keep him going.
"He is that symbol of hope, and no matter how difficult things get for me, no matter what the color of my skin is, that I can do anything I set my mind to," he said.
"What I found was particularly moving was not only the fact that he was able to be so influential in creating change, but the fact that he was so influential in creating unity," said Rohan Chakrabarty, a member of the group and a senior at Metea Valley High School.
The group's meeting concluded with a candlelight tribute to Dr. King, and a reminder that his spirit lives on in them.
Aurora's first black mayor, Richard Irvin, will give his State of the City address Tuesday, April 3, in honor of King's famous "Mountaintop Speech," which was delivered on the same day in 1968.
Chicago area teens reflect on Martin Luther King's legacy