Despite the challenges of COVID-19, students, faculty, staff and families of Shady Side Academy celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the annual SSA MLK Days of Service. Students at all four campuses engaged in educational assemblies and service activities in his honor.
Country Day School and Junior School students joined together for the first-ever joint lower school MLK Day assembly on Friday, Jan. 21. SSA trustee emeritus and grandparent Floyd Cephas Sr. and Junior School librarian Phyllis Guering began the assembly with a reading of the book Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. Country Day School music and theater arts teacher Tami Fire led both schools in singing Just Keep Goin' On by Eric Bibb and the American Gospel song, This Little Light of Mine. The two schools then broke out into virtual assemblies by campus, where students in each grade presented a historical figure who made a difference in the world by championing peace and equity in the same way as Dr. King. Figures included Fred Rogers, Frederick Douglass, Mae Jemison, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges. The halls of the schools were decorated in artwork created by the students in honor of Dr. King.
The MLK Day theme at the Middle School was "Let's Link Our Dreams." A virtual all-school assembly was held on Friday, Jan. 21, which featured students from the Black Student Union and the Service Learning Committee. Students from the BSU shared a presentation about Dr. King and his impact as he worked toward equality in the United States, and discussed others who shared his dream, such as John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin and John F. Kennedy. Members of the Service Learning Committee shared information about a multi-campus food drive being held from Jan. 18-28 to benefit Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh's daytime warming stations, which provide warmth and food to Pittsburgh's homeless population during the winter months. In the coming weeks. each grade at the Middle School will watch one of Dr. King's speeches in advisories, and then students will share creative responses during morning breaktime concerts.
On Friday, Jan. 21, the Black Student Union led a Senior School community assembly for ninth and 10th graders by reading Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech aloud and sharing a video presentation and discussion about whether or not Dr. King's dream has come true. Students in grades 11-2 watched the assembly via video on Monday, Jan. 24. The Senior School community is also participating in the multi-campus Catholic Charities Food Drive from Jan. 18-28, which the Service Learning Club is spearheading and promoting on campus and through email and social media.
View a photo slideshow of all three MLK Day assemblies below: