At Saint Andrew’s School, Martin Luther King Jr. day is so much more than a day off. It’s an opportunity to learn, connect, and celebrate how the teachings of MLK connect well with three of SA’s core values: respect, honor, and integrity. Scots view MLK day as an opportunity to put those core values into action.
Taking action starts with listening and learning about important diversity, equity, and inclusion messages related to Dr. King’s teachings, and Upper School students did just that throughout the day on Friday, January 18.
Students engaged in dynamic lessons about topics that are connected to Dr. King’s messages - lessons that delved into the topics of sustainable development, voting rights, and income equality. The lessons were organized and facilitated by an amazing team of teachers and administrators: SA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee member, Veronica Guinazu, Dean of Faculty, Craig Cetrulo, and Upper School History Teachers, Josh Borthwick and Cristen Magaletti.
The MLK inspired lessons were anchored by a rare opportunity to see former NFL star Anquan Boldin speak on Friday, January 18 in Roberts Theater.
During his time in the NFL, South Florida native, Anquan Boldin, made fans cheer with his explosive and impressive football prowess. Now he draws praise and admiration for the foundation he started, which is dedicated to expanding the education and life opportunities of underserved children. His work is inspired in part by, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When asked about how Dr. King would react to issues of social justice today, Boldin had profound ideas he shared with his captive audience.
“I think he would be both proud and disappointed,” Boldin said. “I think he would be proud of those who have continued to fight for social justice, and proud of those who have joined the fight, like myself, to make sure that America is fair for each and every person.”
But I think [Dr. King] would be disappointed in the progress we’ve made. I think he would think that we should be a lot further along than where we actually are in terms of social justice.”
After Boldin's question and answer session with Upper School Scots, junior Bradley Hoppenstein had the chance to sit down with Boldin and interview him for a Scots Talk exclusive. The pair discussed his time in the NFL as well as current news topics. You can see the interview with Anquan Boldin here
Upper School’s learning and connection with MLK’s principles continued on Friday - this time at the University level. Select SA student leaders attended the Civility Summit at Lynn University accompanied by Upper School History teacher, Cristen Magaletti. Students witnessed nationally known speakers in the area of social entrepreneurship and then attended breakout sessions with other young change-makers who created successful initiatives and non-profits to promote positive social change - all of this echoing MLK’s vision and leadership for a just world.
Scots in Middle and Lower School joined their Upper School counterparts in celebrating MLK day in ways that demonstrate a commitment to educating socially minded students.
Students in grades JK-5 have been focusing on the theme “Practicing the appreciation and acceptance of differences” as evidenced by the work displayed to honor MLK day in the Nina and Edgar Otto Lower School.
Upper School students, Nicole Whitaker ‘19, President of the Black Student Union, and Bria Weisz, President of the Rainbow Alliance, had the opportunity to speak to JK-grade 5 students on Wednesday, January 16, during chapel about Martin Luther King Jr.’s message.
“Bria and Nicole did a wonderful job speaking to the LS students and connecting their ideas to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech,’ ” said Wesley Toretti, Lower School Counselor.
Grade 4 student, Ava Cornett, was an inspired member of that Lower School audience. “They told us that we could accomplish Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dreams in the ways we act at school,” she said.
To illustrate this point, Bria and Nicole asked students to talk to a person near them, and reveal something to that person that they don’t already know. “I think they wanted us to learn not to judge a book by its cover, and they did it in a really fun way,” said Ava.
In the Middle School, Social Studies and English teachers have been engaged in special lessons about the legacy of Dr. King using the website facinghistory.org. The Facing History organization fosters empathy and reflection and helps build inclusivity in schools.
Guest speaker, Dale Yoder, Mrs. Martin’s father, spoke to grade 6 students on Friday to honor MLK and his legacy. As a retired history professor and civil rights activist, stories about his life and work sent a strong and compelling message of compassion to students.
“I am also excited to announce a guest speaker, Sarah Haycox, who I’m bringing to our school in April to promote ideals fostered by the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Head of Middle School, Ann Haynes. “Unfortunately, Sarah was unable to come in January due to her growing popularity, but she is excited to speak to us on April 8, 2019.”
Sarah Haycox is a very young social activist from Washington who has had great success and recognition for her efforts to acknowledge Edwin Pratt. Edwin Pratt was a famous activist during the Civil Rights Movement who accomplished great things towards the efforts of equality and justice before he was assassinated in 1969.
Sarah has received a great deal of national recognition. Mrs. Haynes is eager to emphasize student empowerment and social activism through her talk. “I am personally thrilled to show the work that this impressive young person can inspire in a community of students around her own age. Sarah’s talk will also help facilitate our ongoing conversation of acceptance and inclusion well beyond MLK day, and throughout the months of January through April,” commented Mrs. Haynes.
Upper School faculty member, Mrs. Veronica Guinazu, echoes Ann Haynes’ sentiment about the need to keep Dr. King’s messages alive. As a leader on the faculty-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, she feels that it is important for every member of Saint Andrew’s community to carry on MLK’s legacy through the work of equity and inclusion.
“It’s a responsibility that I believe we all have,” she said. And that responsibility is one Scots must show in January on MLK day, and every day.