Middle School Celebrates Impact of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Work

Pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. adorned the walls of the Doc Wilson Hall on Tuesday, January 21, as the middle school community gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of the civil rights activist.

*Click here to view a photo gallery*

The School’s mission – to be a power for good in the world – was front and center during the hourlong presentation as students presented on individuals who worked alongside and who have been inspired by Dr. King. Equity and Inclusion Coordinator and middle school English teacher Chris Mizell, who worked with the students on their presentations, began the assembly by stating that “Today we seek to honor someone who was maybe the best example of a power for good.” Mizell also shared a number of facts about Dr. King, such as the attempt on his life in Harlem in 1958.
Nine students took to the podium to share the stories of individuals who have stood up in the face of adversity, including Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, actress and activist Gabrielle Union, football quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Central Park Five. Students also brought attention to the issue of bullying and were treated to a compelling performance on the subject by upper school Dance Company members. In addition to the presentations and performances, two videos showcased Dr. King’s message and powerful oratory skills: his recitation of “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes and his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”
Head of Middle School Tasha Elsbach closed the event by considering the history of slavery in the United States and the ways in which many people have fought for equality, as outlined in the first line of the Declaration of Independence, since the country’s founding. At the conclusion of the gathering, students met with their advisories for small group discussions. 
“My hope is that each student came away from the assembly with a renewed appreciation for what Dr. King was trying to do, and a deeper understanding of the kind of resistance and danger he faced,” Mizell said. “We want them to know that being a power for good in the world isn’t always easy or convenient, but it is worth fighting for. If any of the stories they saw can provide some courage and perseverance in difficult moments in the future, then the assembly was a success.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Assembly Program
Arjun Ratan ’24  | Welcome
Mr. Mizell  | Introduction
Ella Galantic ’25  | Malala Yousafzai
Ethan Savage ’24 and Lucas Seguinot ’24  | Colin Kaepernick
Aviv Emery ’24 and Xavier Rolston ’24  | No-Name-Calling Week
Arjun Ratan ’24  | Bayard Rustin
Immanuelle Kennerly ’25 and Anna Ruiz ’25  | Gabrielle Union
Anna Ruiz ’25  | Introduced video of “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes
Matthias Sandoval ’24  | The Central Park Five
Ethan Savage ’24  | Introduced Dr. King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech
Ms. Elsbach  | Closing
Nathan Lothian ’24 provided planning assistance.