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Léman Students Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 15, 2024

Today, Léman is closed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Each year, this day is dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King, who devoted his life to the pursuit of justice, equity, and equality for all. Through his advocacy and leadership, Dr. King tasked society with shaping a holistically inclusive world.

While today is a day off from school, we encourage all members of our community to take time to learn about and reflect upon the teachings of Dr. King. As an academic community dedicated to becoming antiracist, may we all honor his legacy by looking towards his teachings to advocate for marginalized communities and actively combat racial and social injustices.

While this day in particular is a time to commemorate Dr. King’s impact, Léman students have been learning about his life, the power of his work, and the history of the Civil Rights Movement throughout last week and throughout the year. Read on below to learn more about how students have been reflecting on his teachings in the classroom.

Learning about Fairness, Kindness, and Inclusion in Early Childhood
After learning and talking about Dr. King’s life and message, early childhood students took part in creative activities inspired by the inclusivity, care, and calls for peace that drove his work.

In celebration of Dr. King’s calls for peace amongst all people, students in PreK 2 and 4 created peace and kindness trees. After adorning paper leaves with ideas on how to spread kindness, the faux foliage was put together to illustrate how thoughtfulness, care, and inclusion can grow within different communities.

PreK 4 also took part in an activity to learn more about how we can celebrate each other’s differences. After observing colors of different eggs, students broke them open to ultimately understand that while we may all be different, there are also things that unite us and make us similar.

Over in PreK 3, students took time to learn about fairness and sharing. After enjoying a reading of “The Sharing Book” by Dianne White, students talked about how they can share with their friends, peers, families, and communities in ways that are fair and inclusive for all.

Celebrating Difference in Lower School Assembly
On the first Friday of every month, lower schoolers enjoy a division-wide assembly in which they discuss topical matters, school happenings, and issues that impact our society. In this month’s assembly, students began with a brief discussion on Dr. King’s legacy, the importance of the Civil Rights movement, and things they could do to foster an inclusive environment at school. This conversation led to one about celebrating our differences, and about how our world is made better by the things that make individuals unique, in honor of Léman’s International Culture Month, which takes place each January.

Each year, this festive occasion provides a platform for all members of our community to learn more about and commemorate the over 100 nationalities, ethnicities, and cultural identities that make up our international community.

First Grade Discusses the “Then and Now” of Dr. King
Each year, first graders take part in a unit called “Then and Now,” which helps students become more aware of the differences between the past and the present. Throughout, students look at innovation over time and how it connects to problem solving. They also discuss notable people throughout history who have transformed society through inventive thinking or, more importantly, who have taken risks to change the way society thinks and feels.

To commence this year’s iteration of the study, students considered the work of Dr. King, discussing the ways in which the risks he took helped shape our world for the better.

The Middle School Black Student Union (BSU) Discovers New Parts of Dr. King’s Story
Using the prompt “What may people not know about Dr. King?” students in the Middle School BSU conducted research to help illuminate more of Dr. King’s life. Once their research was complete, students recorded their findings for a brief video, which you can view here.

Eighth Graders Research the Philosophies of Dr. King and Malcolm X
Before winter break, eighth graders wrote essays comparing and contrasting the philosophies of Dr. King and Malcolm X, wrapping up their fall trimester unit on post-Civil War Reconstruction through the present day. Using several of each of the revolutionaries’ writings and speeches as primary sources, students compared and contrasted their respective approaches to the fight for civil rights and equality. While each paper differed in terms of content, tone, and style, the assignment as a whole inspired students to use their studies to create more inclusive and equitable environments for their peers both in and outside of school.

IB Spanish Students Discuss the Importance of Service
In addition to celebrating the life of Dr. King, it is to be remembered that MLK Day is also a day to live in and practice service for others. Using themes of service, unity, and transformation as points of discussion, IB Spanish students considered ways they could best serve their communities using Dr. King’s legacy as a guide. Each conversation, conducted entirely in Spanish, further illuminated the diverse ways in which we can continue to honor the message, mission, and life’s work of Dr. King through supporting and advocating for each and every member of our respective communities.

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