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Celebrating Black History Month Through Service and Changing Our World

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” 
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year on the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ravenscroft celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King. Each division celebrates differently, but service and changing your world are at the heart of each lesson. 

Lower School

Lower School students gathered Friday morning for a Tree Talk. First-grade teacher Avera Acai read from “Let Freedom Sing” by Vanessa Brantley-Newton — based on the gospel song “This Little Light of Mine” — which highlights moments in history when inspirational people including Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks let their light shine. 

PreK teacher Lana Dubose then connected King’s work to our Lead From Here citizen leadership framework. 

“Do you know that Dr. King was an expert in Lead From Here?” she asked. “All the things that we’re learning about were all of the things that he was. All those things were part of his life.”

A few Upper School students joined the Lower School to share their favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. 

Delaney Washington ’22 shared this quote: “The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that a dreamer has his eyes closed, and a visionary has his eyes open.” She then explained, “As Ravenscroft students, being a visionary is a key part of our personal growth. We are being prepared for our futures every day. Trying to see the future and actually creating it are two seperate things. Our Lead from Here framework and true visionaries like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspire me every day to be a better version of myself, to create the future I long to see. He once had a dream in the hopes of seeing it through. He had his eyes open.”

After the Tree Talk, Lower School students went back to their classrooms to participate in different service-learning activities. PreK students, for example, collected diapers and made cards for clients of the Diaper Train at St. Savior’s Center in downtown Raleigh. Fifth-graders packaged food and protein for Rise Against Hunger.

Middle School

Middle School students began their MLK celebration during Community Time. Teacher Bob Hale spoke about King’s impact on the world and the changes he has seen in human rights over his lifetime.

“We’ve come a long way,” he said. “But there is still a long way to go. We can’t be satisfied with what we’ve achieved, so we have to continue the dialogue to improve.”

After the meeting, eighth-graders left campus for service-learning projects at organizations including Note in the Pocket and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern N.C., while sixth- and seventh-graders made blankets to be donated to Project Linus

Upper School

The Upper School held a program honoring King’s legacy, connecting his work, his call to service and the contemporary context of his words and deeds. 

Several Upper School students represented student voices their peers might hear in the hallways, such as “Girls’ sports aren’t as interesting as boys’ sports” or “Your ACT score is better than I thought it would be.” Students then went back to their advisories to talk about the impact of such speech and discuss how they might draw on the competencies in the Lead From Here framework to change their world. 

To wrap up the day, Upper School students came back together to hear Matt Presson ’20 and Martina Frederick ’20 perform original spoken-word poetry. Martina summed up the day’s messages this way: “If you don’t say something, who will? If you don’t help, who will?” 

See photos from Friday’s events here