at Rock Point School

Martin Luther King Day 2024

Posted by Molly Huddle Coffey | January 19, 2024

MLK Day 2024 (1)

On Monday, we celebrated Martin Luther King Day with the broader Burlington community. Our 9th and 10th grade students began the day with a discussion and viewing of "Legacy of a Dream", a short film that uses selected footage from the 180-minute Academy Award-nominated documentary "King: A Filmed Record; Montgomery to Memphis". Students, who are studying the events described for our history sub-unit on the Civil Rights Movement, were able to place the events in historical context with this primary source footage. 

We then visited the special exhibit, "Passports Through Time: Exploring Our Civil Rights of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," at the Echo Center, Burlington's Science Museum on the shore of Lake Champlain. The exhibit was hosted in collaboration with the Clemmons Family Farm, one of the largest  African American-owned farms in Vermont, a not-for-profit that also promotes "the deeper understanding and appreciation of African American and African American diaspora history, arts, and culture." The program at Echo consisted of a series of presentations that took students through time from the Reconstruction era after emancipation to the present. Students could visit each of five "time capsules" to learn about civil rights milestones from artists with activities including dance, painting, and music creation. 

The 11th and 12th-grade students attended St. Michael's College for their 32nd annual Martin Luther King Day celebration. Though it was a cold morning, our students were excited to see the college campus and get a brief tour. 

Once we arrived in Dion Hall, we were engaged in a wonderful morning of speeches and critical thinking about King's legacy. Students from Winooski High School, with Dr. Jolivette Anderson-Douoning and Dr. Bill Clark, presented about their experiences in their dual enrollment course on African American History. Our students were inspired by the passion and thoughtfulness of these students and had the opportunity to talk with them after the panel. 

Following this panel, we heard from Dr. Rebecca Haslam, who presented about Universal Design and designing communities so people feel they matter. Students reflected on how we do this well at Rock Point and how we might improve. 

Finally, our group was treated to lunch in the St. Michael's dining hall, where a gospel choir -- including one of our students! -- performed uplifting songs to celebrate the day. We are grateful to St. Michael's for hosting us, and we look forward to joining this annual celebration next year!

It is so important to us to spend Martin Luther King Day meaningfully connecting with our community, understanding the past, and envisioning ways to continue Martin Luther King’s legacy in the future.

Topics: Open & Inclusive