On January 20, students, faculty, and staff joined together to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While most other schools were closed, the Ross community devoted the day to learning about a pivotal point in our nation’s history and the struggle for civil rights and racial equality. The day included workshops, films, discussions, and songs centered on a theme of strengthening community and embracing difference. The positive and inspirational activities on both campuses were a testament to the School’s commitment to the Ross Core Values, including Courage and Integrity.
At the Lower School, the day began with an assembly in the Multi-Purpose Room. The sixth graders kicked off the morning with an inspiring version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Next, teachers Laura Engel and Nancy Baxter led the classes in a sing-along to classic gospel songs including “This Little Light of Mine” and “We Shall Overcome.” The students also watched Dr. King’s motivational “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963 advocating civil rights and an end to racism.
Before heading back to their classrooms to discuss the profound impact of Dr. King’s life and teachings, Head of Lower School Jeanette Tyndall addressed the students about the importance of the day and invited them to reflect on King’s messages of peace and equality. Students wore white ribbons as a symbol of that peace, and Jeanette encouraged everyone to wear them outside of school to continue to spread awareness in community. The students also agreed to eat their lunch in silence as a symbol of the sacrifices made for human rights. In the afternoon, the students once again gathered to share their perspectives on what they learned about Dr. King throughout their day.
At the Upper School, students gathered for an assembly in the Center for Well-Being. Cultural History teacher Carrie Clark shared some of her experiences during the time of the civil rights movement, and Dean of Performing Arts performed Dr. King’s favorite hymn before inviting everyone to join in singing “We Shall Overcome,” an anthem for the movement. Next, Dean of World Languages and Literature Jack Hill introduced guest speaker D. Watkins, a Baltimore-based author and professor who spoke about believing in yourself and coming together as a community to overcome challenges and diversity.
Leading up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jack Hill also spoke at a community event at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor. Jack focused his remarks on how Dr. King is still relevant today. He shared similar thoughts in a radio broadcast with WPPB.