On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students at The Bright School marked the holiday with activities that commemorated the 50th anniversary of his death.
The day began with the Morning Meeting at the Centennial Theater, and Head of School O.J. Morgan talked to students about what he hoped they would think about during the day, leading up to hearing a clip from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“At Bright School, we always take time to recognize Dr. King’s importance,” he said.
“I want you to dream about things you want to do for others that give your life purpose. Each and every one of you have the brains and heart to do something special in this world.”
Throughout the day, students completed their 50th anniversary projects, which they presented to the rest of the school in an afternoon assembly.
The pre-kindergarten collected 50 reasons to smile and posted them on a bulletin board.
The kindergarten spent 50 minutes in the morning collecting trash around school.
The first grade collected 50 gently-used books, wrapped the books and made bookmarks to give to Little Miss Mag, an early learning center in Chattanooga.
The second grade collected 50 caps for patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and wrote letters to the children who will receive the caps.
The third grade wrote 50 letters to residents at nursing homes through the Love for the Elderly letters of love project.
The fourth grade researched and then presented facts, people, events and places about civil rights in each of the 50 states.
The fifth grade put together a display of 50 words that describe Dr. King and made their own personal word clouds of 50 words.
During lunch, students were encouraged to choose only the foods they would eat and not waste anything. Parents Leslie Simmons and Elizabeth Jackson helped science teacher Melanie Nestler, who is spearheading the “green team’s” efforts to reduce waste at school, by keeping track of which classes had the most clean trays at lunch. “Dr. King was a hero and a brave man,” Mrs. Nestler told students. “He would not ignore the hunger that millions of Americans face while others throw food away.”
The goal was 50 clean trays, but the students made very good choices and ate what they were served. The total was 165 clean trays for grades first through fifth. On top of the clean trays, the amount of food thrown away during lunch was significantly reduced. “This was a success,” Mrs. Nestler said. The three classes with the most clean trays will receive a cookie party.
Students ended the day by seeing pictures of their fellow students completing their activities, and representatives from each grade (K-fifth) came to the stage and told the school what they did. Afterward, Mr. Morgan introduced a clip of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and asked students to remember what he talked about that morning, about having dreams of what they can do.
Mr. Morgan reminded students that other children have started non-profit organizations, such as Katie Stagliano with Katie’s Krops, who visited the school last year, and Jacob Cramer, who started Love for the Elderly, which the third grade participated in. “We are not talking about what you can do 25 years from now. You can do something now,” Mr. Morgan said. “I’ve seen it in you already. You will be living out what Dr. King was talking about.”