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The Academy Life Reflects On Honoring Dr. King

Caroline M. and Charlie R./Media

Patrick W. on Lyrics and Liberation

On Monday January 29, upper school students eagerly filed into the theater to begin our Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations. The festivities began with a presentation by Mekka Don, an Ohio State football alum who got a job as a lawyer in New York before quitting to pursue his dreams of being a rapper. A leader of diversification in the Big 10 Conference, Don spoke to us about his journey to become a successful rapper andentrepreneur, as well as what it means to be a leader. It was a fun and engaging presentation, which culminated in him rapping a song from his first album: The Dream Goes On

Next we broke apart into different group activities centered around celebrating Dr. King’s legacy. My activity was Lyrics and Liberation. We listened to different songs that discuss what it means to be “black in America”. The songs ranged from “This Little Light of Mine” to Beyoncé’s “Freedom.” We talked about how the lyrics of these songs represented the fight for equality that black people went through, as well as celebrating black excellence. It was a fun activity, but it also carried a powerful message about the cultural impacts of music. 

Sean J. and Melanie Q. on Miles for Martin

Miles for Martin was one of the most popular events, led by Isa E., Matthew F., Billy G., Aanav K., Adi S., and Peter T., garnering over 100 participants. With hot chocolate in their hands, students walked around the track while listening to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Amid the cold air surrounded by nature, we had time to listen, digest, and reflect upon its significance. The event’s goal was to walk in remembrance of the famous March on Washington in 1963 for Jobs and Freedom. In this small way, we as a CA community honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders who sacrificed their lives for their beliefs. (Sean J.)

Angela H. on The United Art Experience

The United Art Experience led by UCA leaders seniors Malia C., Angela H., Joseph S., Charlie S., Scott R., and art teachers Mr. Block and Mr. Mena, hosted an opportunity for students to explore the artwork of black artists during Dr. King’s Civil Rights Movement Era and beyond. Focusing on artist Felraith Hines, 23 participants created their own artwork. Hines was born in Indiana in 1913 and spent his early life as a self taught painter. He eventually studied at the Pratt Institute in New York but didn’t want to be “put in a box” as a black artist at that time. His early career focused on cubism but eventually grew to include abstract geometric art. Students were provided with mini canvases, acrylic paint pens, and masking tape and were encouraged to create abstract geometric art like Hines did. While they worked, the leaders played a video that talked about art during the Harlem Renaissance. Through The United Art Experience, not only did students learn about Black History they also created their own art in memory of Dr. King.

Lance H. on Amend-The Fight for America

Students and faculty in the Amend-The Fight for America group watched a portion of the Netflix series Amend-The Fight for America. This episode covered the Montgomery bus boycott, the Kennedy administration punting the issue of civil rights and being slow to change, and the overlooked director of civil rights demonstrations, Bayard Rustin, who was critical to organizing and planning events like the March on Washington. Other topics focused included segregationist governor George Wallance and framing the policy of segregation as a matter of States Rights. After the documentary, student leaders, Angela B., Nina K., Michael M., Ellie V. and Katie V., facilitated discussion questions which prompted thoughtful insights by both students and faculty.  

Charlie R. on History of HBCU’s.

My activity was learning about the History of HBCU’s. As students filled the seats in the dining hall, we met with three HBCU alumni speakers from Morehouse, North Carolina Central University, and Benedict College. They described their experiences while attending their respective schools and what they learned in the process. We also learned random fun facts about these schools in the kahoot we did at the end of the activity. As I look back on this day, I thought it was interesting and knowledgeable. I hope we feature this event next year. (Charlie R.)

Claire S. on King Speaks

Students and faculty members a part of the King Speaks group met in one of the upper school science rooms. Upon arrival, they began watching Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech titled “The Other America.” The students listened to the beginning of the speech and discussed their interpretations of what King was referring to when saying “the other America.” The general consensus of the discussion was that King was calling out the clear separation in the country between white people and people of color. He addressed that in the Pledge of Allegiance, America is referred to as “one nation” but in reality, the intense discrimination of minorities in the United States made the country separated. Following the initial discussion the student leaders redirected the conversation to present day issues. They asked the students to talk in small groups about the lasting effects of racism in the United States and how we, as students, can make changes in society to reduce discrimination. 

Milana B. on Read-In

Hosted in the Reinberger Library, Read-In  accomodated 40 students who gathered to read in celebration of MLK Day. From picture books to personal memoirs to fiction, all novels had one thing in common: black authors, black stories, black lives. Leaders Zoya A., Arya C., Ella F., Ellie T., and I oversaw this popular Read-In activity. Afterwards, we gathered into group discussions, and many people checked out their books to read on their own time.


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