Ms. Majeski began the day with a humorous story — involving frogs and lily pads — about breaking out of one’s comfort zone.
Unlike many of their peers, today high school students at Lawrence Academy are in class and assembly, together with their mentors and faculty, celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a community.
MLK Jr. Day observances and discussions are an honored tradition at LA, where the entire campus began the morning in the Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center (RMPAC).
A performance by the LA Band, opening remarks from Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Raquel Majeski, Head of School Dan Scheibe and a viewing of the documentary, I’m Not Racist… Am I? served as an introduction to the day.
Later in the day, following a lunch of Dr. King’s favorite foods, students will break into groups to discuss the morning’s documentary. Then the community will return to the RMPAC to listen to a presentation by Wade Davis (full bio).
“Former NFL player Wade Davis is a thought leader, writer, public speaker, and educator on gender, race, and orientation equality,” reads his bio. “While in the NFL, Davis played for the Tennessee Titans, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks.
“In 2012, Davis ‘invited in’ the rest of the world in an interview owning his sexuality as a gay man. Davis is now the NFL’s first LGBT inclusion consultant, where he leads training sessions and national engagement initiatives.”
Following a Q & A with Mr. Davis and a performance by the LA Singers, students will have a chance to “Speak Out” in the RMPAC, before returning to their advisory to engage in a “Kindness Rock Activity.”
“At LA, our diversity mission statement states: Lawrence Academy seeks to encourage the voice of every community member and invites a spirit of education as a means of celebrating diversity, acknowledging each individual’s unique qualities regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, ability, religious affiliation, and political views,” said Ms. Majeski about the day’s activities. “Today we continued the work, and worked hard to establish a strong foundation for continued dialogue.”
Mr. Scheibe agreed.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is about sharing knowledge, thought and purpose—fundamental parts of being able to recognize each other in a mission-driven community,” he said. “It is the most public of holidays in the sense that it is an exercise of conscience and social justice.
“Those essential qualities are built through relationship and honest exchange, and open presence together is both a prerequisite and a huge educational opportunity.”