MLK Day Inspires Reflection on the Civil Rights Movement
Following the South Trip to experience the locations, museums and monuments dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement, eighth-graders used their particular connection to this topic to lead a middle school assembly honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Emcees, Chloe Jenkins (5) and Mariella Jordan (5), kicked things off with a summary of King’s life and legacy: “Dr. King lived through a troubling time in the history of the United States, and rose above circumstance to become a great world figure. Dr. King exuded patriotism and used the country’s founding principles as a guide when engaging in nonviolent protests, civil disobedience, and boycotts.”
Next, eighth-graders narrated key points in the fight for equality as others formed dramatic tableaus to depict the desegregation of schools, the Montgomery bus boycott, lunch counter sit-ins, King’s Dream speech and Bloody Sunday. Each narration ended with a quote from other world figures who have taken up the fight. For example, following a description of King’s assassination, poet Maya Angelou was quoted: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but, if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
The eighth-grade choir assembled next to perform two songs directed by teacher Tara Neeley and accompanied on the piano by teacher Anna Phelan. “Man in the Mirror” and “Here Comes the Change” were selected to inspire students to think about how they can make a difference at Graland and in the larger community. Throughout, individual students stepped up to share how they have committed to being more inclusive of others. “I can be the change by standing up and speaking up for what’s right, and speaking against what’s unjust,” said one student. Another said, “I can vote when I am 18 to help shape my country’s policies.”
Middle schoolers and their families were invited to Denver’s Marade (march + parade) in honor of Dr. King on Monday, January 20, a national holiday. They were encouraged to start the year showing King’s spirit of volunteerism and his dedication to bettering the lives of others.
To conclude, Oscar Gonzalez, director of equity and inclusivity, dismissed middle schoolers to advisory where they continued the discussion. Well done, Grade 8!
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.