Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King with "A Day On"

Welcome back from the long weekend.  I hope that each of us was able to spend a little time reflecting on the reasons why Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday has been designated as a "day on" more than "a day off".

On Friday, we were glad to have re-introduced a Westside tradition: a Kindergarten - 8th grade MLK Jr. assembly, where our elementary and middle school students and teachers came together as one community in recognition of Dr. King and his life and legacy.

At Westside, we believe it is essential that our students learn about this holiday and why commemorating the work of Dr. King is so important and remains current. At the assembly students learned about moments in Dr. King's life and several students had an opportunity to reflect out loud to their peers about what his teachings mean today. Together, we listened to an audio version of a portion Dr, King's I Have A Dream speech.

In Lower School, Heather Moss and several teachers have been reading books about Dr. King. In Middle School, students discussed why the work of Martin Luther King is still relevant and important today. Susannah Muench asked our 5th-7th grade students the question, "If he was alive, what do you think would MLK would say about events in our society today?"  The middle school also recognized modern day heroes who are working towards social justice and change. Our 8th graders, inspired by Kendra Dixon and Eric Claesson, have been studying activism deeply and it was a pleasure to attend one of their Coffee Talks last week. These discussions continue this week at advisory time.

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service. The MLK Day of Service is observed as a "day on, not a day off" and is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."

In future years, we will plan a greater Westside presence at Seattle MLK Jr. events on the federal holiday as we look towards making this day a voluntary time of service to others. We want to be intentional about making this day less about 'a day off' and more about a meaningful time for our students and their families to engage with our broader community.

Enjoy your week. 

Steve de Beer
Head of School