Every year, Blair spends the week following the federal holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. remembering the social change incited by MLK. We take time to discuss race and equality as a community. Discussions are held in order for students to learn and engage with one another about such topics. This year, the discussion-based seminars were student-run with assistance from teachers, providing a wide selection of topics to choose from.
Dylan Bentley ’22, one of the student leaders for the seminar “How to Cure Curiosity,” commented on how she felt about her seminar’s discussion. “I think the seminar was a great way to connect with people from different grades and have meaningful conversations.”
Students were able to discuss themes relevant to race that also related to their interests. Abby Morris ’20 described her experience hosting a seminar that combined her love of music with issues of race. “Emma Abbott ’20 and I wanted to host a music-oriented MLK seminar, as we are both members of orchestra. We decided to host a showing of Greenbook and lead a discussion about the ideas presented in the film. I was pleased with the insightful comments and positive energy that the group brought to the seminar.”
MLK coordinator Mrs. Ryerson said: “the purpose of the MLK Seminars is multi-faceted…I’m hoping to empower student leaders to plan and execute their own seminars…I think that was highly successful this year as we had more student-led seminars than ever before! The second goal is to expand the horizons of our students and expose them to thoughts or issues that they may not be as familiar with. The third goal is to get our students more comfortable having difficult conversations…the last goal, and one I don’t think we met as successfully this year, is to honor Dr. King…I think we did a great job honoring his legacy, [but] we had very little focus on Dr. King himself this year.”
Many students felt positively about the seminars they attended, as they allowed for interesting discussions and were centered around relevant topics that many connected with. At a time in which discussions on controversial topics are very important, MLK week at Blair is a valuable time to explore these issues in a safe environment that promotes learning and understanding among peers.
(Copyright Evelyn Sharma 2020)