Over the last two weeks, SPA students in grades K-12 participated in special assemblies as part of the school's annual observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Lower School students honored Dr. King on Friday, January 17; the Middle School held their special assembly on Tuesday, January 21; and the Upper School observed the national holiday on the following Monday, January 27.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Dr. Naomi Taylor, SPA's Director of Intercultural Life, shared that each division took time to reflect on "the mission of serving others and living up to Dr. King's quote: 'Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'what are you doing for others?'" Read below how each division took up this charge and celebrated Dr. King's Legacy.
The Lower School integrated activity, music, and multimedia resources into its annual MLK assembly this year. Students began the morning with their annual mini "March on Washington" where Grade 3-5 students walk through the hallways to the auditorium singing "We Shall Overcome" just as civil rights protestors did in August 1963. Once together, students sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and watched a video by Kid President about Dr. King's life and legacy. Finally, after assembly, students brainstormed things they can do for their community and wrote them on handprints, which are now on display in the Lower School hallway (see right).
In the Middle School, students listened to remarks by Principal Virginal Andres and then watched a video by Alicia Key that showed leaders of non-violent protests and challenged viewers to continue to be changemakers. Following the video, Serene Kalugdan '25, Awaale Osman '24, Cerena Karmaliani '25, and Mason Hang '25 shared reflections on their identity with the community, which they wrote in their English classes, and audience members put "truths" about themselves into a community vessel about their own identities, with the hope that if we truly "see" one another, SPA will have a stronger community. Finally, the assembly was wrapped up with the sharing of a collaborative art project and the Middle School Choir sang "Hine Ma Tov," which in Hebrew means "How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity."
The annual Upper School assembly was facilitated by Intercultural Club and featured two speakers: Rose McGee (author, community leader, founder of Sweet Potato Comfort Pies, and former SPA staff member) and Anthony Galaway (Executive Director of ARTS Us Center for the African Diaspora, author, podcaster, and co-founder of "Dare 2 Be Real"). The pair were moderated by Gabriella Thompson '21 and Arie Walker '20 and answered questions submitted by Upper School students and faculty around the themes of community, MLK's legacy, and the speakers' equity work. The conversation was later continued and debriefed in the student's advisory groups.
Finally, the entire SPA community also celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day together with the first annual MLK Day of Service. Over 250 attended the service day which offered participants the chance to engage in a number of service projects in support of local Twin Cities social justice organizations. Read the full story on SPA News.