On October 26, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his speech “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?” to the students of Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. You may view video footage of the speech taped by Rodges Lawton, a student in attendance, here, and a transcript follows, downloaded from yousubtitles.com and revised by Bill Ivey in comparison to the video. Additional suggestions are always welcome.
What do condiments, the four seasons and the secret life of the Voice of Stoneleigh-Burnham have in common?
Recently, I got called out on Twitter. It used to be, like many (most?) of us, that being told I was causing offense, being racist, and/or hindering the work for social justice would lead me to break out in a panicky sweat, want to figuratively or even literally run away, and/or passionately defend myself as “a good person.” By now, though, it’s happened often enough that I’ve learned to view it positively as someone caring enough to engage with me, to challenge me to do better in their eyes (granting that this is easier to process via social media than in the immediacy of face-to-face conversations). And I’ve learned that at such moments, their eyes are generally seeing things I would otherwise miss and that I really need to know. Trying to remain open to being called out, whether on Twitter, in person, or wherever, has enabled me to learn and grow more quickly and more surely than I otherwise would have been able to - in short, to be a better ally.
As much as I love the warmth, sunlight, and pace of the summer, there is something about this time of year that also appeals to me. Part of it is that sense of resilience you get for toughing it out during a New England winter; part of it is the contrast of the darkness with starlight, moonlight, and the brightness of hats, mittens, and scarves; and part of it is the protectiveness of the darkness itself. As the light retreats and the world seems to close in on itself, introspection comes naturally, even if you are all about daily learning and growth, and whether or not you are of a mind to actually make resolutions
Every year, as the final week of December classes approaches, I’m taken back to my first year at the school. As houseparents, Martha and I had been told that decorating took a while and that it was both meaningful to the kids and fun for adults to help out. So at 11:00 on the designated night, we tiptoed down our corridor and down the stairs so as not to tip off the (hopefully!) sleeping sophomores and juniors on our corridor that they would wake to a magically transformed winterscape, and gathered in the Capen Room with a good-sized crowd.
Like many Americans, especially parents, especially teachers, Dec. 14, 2012 is burned into my brain. I may have been too young (just) to remember where I was on Nov. 22, 1963, but I know exactly where I was 49 years and 22 days later - in the gym working scoreboard for our basketball tournament - and remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. On that day, we learned with growing shock what had transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a horrific mass shooting that began with the shooter’s mother and continued to result in the deaths of 20 children and six faculty/staff members before the shooter turned his gun on himself.
Luna Patience, Vice-President of the Junior Class, delivered this speech during their ring ceremony on Thursday, November 29.
I feel privileged to be able to share such a special evening with all of you, both guests, and classmates.
Doves adorn the staircase to the middle school, twirling gently in the air currents, still exuding the active hope for peace expressed by the students who made them and arranged them. At the top of the staircase sits a totem pole, made by the class of 2019 back when they were seventh graders, expressing who they were at the time and thus, in many ways, who they are now. I walk into the middle school lobby, where soon enough kids will start to flood in, flopping on the chair and couch, half sitting on each other’s laps as they chatter about any- and everything that crosses their minds. I walk into my room, past the Black Lives Matter, Girl Power, and LGBT Safe space signs on the door, and arrange the blue beanbags in a half circle. Soon, kids will half-walk, half-run into the room and either drop their backpacks on their beanbag of choice, whirl, and return to the lobby, or drop down to relax and hang out with their friends as they arrive.
Recently, students in Meghan Lena's HL Bio class created stop motion videos. This one, from Bee and Siena, is on Membrane Transport. Enjoy!
“I kind of like being fooled about some things.” Tally, the protagonist in Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, utters this line to close out a chapter section, where we ended today’s Morning Reading in Humanities 7. The kids reacted immediately to the line, pointing out examples of Tally, and the society in general in this future dystopia, wanting to be fooled. After their thoughts settled into silence, I asked them, “Are there people in our culture who kind of like being fooled about some things.” No silence then - one student jumped straight to, “I like being fooled into thinking the world isn’t going to descend into chaos in about 12 years and our species will go extinct.”
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