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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
HomeNewsArchives@School: King’s Message Reverberates for Students

@School: King’s Message Reverberates for Students

Montossori primary students show off their 'change the world' hands.Almost 47 years after his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is still teaching justice, peace, tolerance and the importance of civil rights. Last week students across St. Thomas studied the man, his words and his legacy, and reflected on the reasons for honoring him on today’s holiday.

For some little ones, it was an introduction. For older students, it was delving deeper into a subject they have studied before.

Mandy Boyle’s primary students at Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy, ranging in age from 3 to 6, concentrated on King as peacemaker. They read a popular Montessori book “Our Peaceful Classroom” and recited the mantra “I can change the world, with my own two hands. Make a better place with my own two hands. Make a kinder place, with my own two hands.”

Montessori students in fourth through sixth grades worked on collaborative research projects about the Civil Rights Movement, focusing on a theme, person or event that affected history. Throughout January and February, Black History Month, they will write about equality, justice and kindness.

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Olguitar Vazquez’s Spanish language students have been studying “Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr.: The Relationship Between Two Civil Rights Leaders” and how it serves as inspiration to the United Farm Workers of America.

In fact, this past week, in honor of King, all the teachers at the school designed activities “that reflect his commitment to peace and equality,” said Norma Bolinger, Montessori director. “The way we approach heroes, is we choose real-life heroes.”

Door poster at All Saints Cathedral School. (Photo by Hugh Arnold)At All Saints Cathedral School, a large poster adorned the classroom door for Spanish classes, featuring a collage of photos of King and blazoned with messages of “Paz” and “Justicia,” “Amor” and “No Violencia.” Vocabulary lessons last week featured words for “hope” “liberty” and “equality,” said Hugh Arnold, assistant head of school.

Third graders read a story entitled “Happy Birthday, Dr. King” and listened to the “I had a Dream” speech, then wrote their responses to it, Arnold said. Second graders watched a video about King’s life and worked on assignments making connections between him and other Civil Rights Movement leaders and activists, such as Rosa Parks.

Arnold said he discussed the lessons with some of the younger students. One boy, looking around at the diverse faces in the room, explained to Arnold that the Civil Rights Movement was important because “that’s why we’re all in the same classroom together.”

At Antilles School, faculty tried to bring the experience closer to youth who might otherwise think of it as ancient history. At an assembly Friday, Marva Bennett, middle and upper school principal, spoke to the upper school about her own memories of America in the 1960s, the fight for racial equality and the day that King was killed. Students also watched a video featuring Robert F. Kennedy’s speech in Indianapolis hours after the assassination, which he turned from a campaign rally into a tribute to King and a call for unity.

“The Civil Rights Movement was not that long ago,” said Shannon Harris, chief academic officer and director of development at Antilles. The video and the talk brought that home to students.

“The bullet didn’t end that dream,” Harris said, because the dream is shared by many people. The underlying message from King to today’s students is “You can be the change. You can be part of the change. There are causes beyond yourself.”

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Montossori primary students show off their 'change the world' hands.Almost 47 years after his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is still teaching justice, peace, tolerance and the importance of civil rights. Last week students across St. Thomas studied the man, his words and his legacy, and reflected on the reasons for honoring him on today’s holiday.

For some little ones, it was an introduction. For older students, it was delving deeper into a subject they have studied before.

Mandy Boyle’s primary students at Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy, ranging in age from 3 to 6, concentrated on King as peacemaker. They read a popular Montessori book “Our Peaceful Classroom” and recited the mantra “I can change the world, with my own two hands. Make a better place with my own two hands. Make a kinder place, with my own two hands.”

Montessori students in fourth through sixth grades worked on collaborative research projects about the Civil Rights Movement, focusing on a theme, person or event that affected history. Throughout January and February, Black History Month, they will write about equality, justice and kindness.

Olguitar Vazquez’s Spanish language students have been studying “Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr.: The Relationship Between Two Civil Rights Leaders” and how it serves as inspiration to the United Farm Workers of America.

In fact, this past week, in honor of King, all the teachers at the school designed activities “that reflect his commitment to peace and equality,” said Norma Bolinger, Montessori director. “The way we approach heroes, is we choose real-life heroes.”

Door poster at All Saints Cathedral School. (Photo by Hugh Arnold)At All Saints Cathedral School, a large poster adorned the classroom door for Spanish classes, featuring a collage of photos of King and blazoned with messages of “Paz” and “Justicia,” “Amor” and “No Violencia.” Vocabulary lessons last week featured words for “hope” “liberty” and “equality,” said Hugh Arnold, assistant head of school.

Third graders read a story entitled “Happy Birthday, Dr. King” and listened to the “I had a Dream” speech, then wrote their responses to it, Arnold said. Second graders watched a video about King’s life and worked on assignments making connections between him and other Civil Rights Movement leaders and activists, such as Rosa Parks.

Arnold said he discussed the lessons with some of the younger students. One boy, looking around at the diverse faces in the room, explained to Arnold that the Civil Rights Movement was important because “that’s why we’re all in the same classroom together.”

At Antilles School, faculty tried to bring the experience closer to youth who might otherwise think of it as ancient history. At an assembly Friday, Marva Bennett, middle and upper school principal, spoke to the upper school about her own memories of America in the 1960s, the fight for racial equality and the day that King was killed. Students also watched a video featuring Robert F. Kennedy’s speech in Indianapolis hours after the assassination, which he turned from a campaign rally into a tribute to King and a call for unity.

“The Civil Rights Movement was not that long ago,” said Shannon Harris, chief academic officer and director of development at Antilles. The video and the talk brought that home to students.

“The bullet didn’t end that dream,” Harris said, because the dream is shared by many people. The underlying message from King to today’s students is “You can be the change. You can be part of the change. There are causes beyond yourself.”