Redwood Heights students blew us away again at this year’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest. Teachers, students, and parents worked incredibly hard over the last few weeks to prepare for this beautiful event. Ms. Irons and Ms. Fisher’s kindergartners performed “Children, Children, What do you see?” in which they mentioned the values of kindness, friendship, happiness, love, hope, and unity. Ms. Boston and Ms. Gravelle’s first graders performed “I Am Somebody” in which they mentioned many ways a child might be different (small, tall, a different kind of family), but passionately declared that, despite these differences, they are still SOMEBODY!
Ms. Antonian’s first and second graders unfalteringly performed the hopeful and powerful piece “We Will Change the World.” Mr. Abrahams’ second graders performed the touching piece “Dreams.” They declared, “Hold fast to dreams! We have dreams! Hear our dreams!” The students bravely recited their own personal dreams. Ms. Chu’s class performed the poem “MLK Jr.” in honor of the man himself, reminding us of the importance of his courage and values of equality and peace.
Ms. Mahoney’s class perfectly performed the thematically beautiful “Yes, We Can,” about a 106-year-old woman who went to the ballot to cast her vote this election. Their performance centered around the progress our country has made, pointing out that when she was born, neither black people nor women could vote. But this woman knows, as do Ms. Mahoney’s students, that America can change. And that indeed, that is the true genius of our country, that it continues to change and progress and become a better and better place. Ms. Anna and Ms. Stoddart’s classes performed “I’m From,” a personal piece in which RHS is declared a sanctuary space where all students are celebrated. Students took turns sharing where their family was from, and what those places are like, including Oakland, Georgia, Africa, Argentina, and Germany. The piece touchingly ended with the students reminding us that “We’re all from here and we’re all from somewhere else.” Trever Walton and Ahmad Gabriel proudly performed “YGB,” calling on the audience that “we must do better.” Ms. Sanders’ third graders performed “Defying Gravity,” declaring that they are “through accepting limits.” They strongly declared that “everyone deserves a chance to try,” in a beautiful piece celebrating recognition, hope, pride, and calling for support and high expectations for all.
Guleed Allen impeccably performed “His Dream Lives on,” standing on stage in front his audience as proudly and confidently as Dr. King himself must have addressed the hundreds of thousands of people during his I Have A Dream speech during the 1963 March on Washington. Isabel Burghardt and Sachi Patwardhan performed “Martin Luther King Day,” another beautiful ode to the leader who brought so much progress and justice to our country. Kate Bibbo and Dalia Reza performed “Rosa Parks.” They appealed to their audience, inquiring, “Are you going to fight for equal rights like Rosa Parks?” Listening to these young students perform such powerful words indeed reminds us all to reflect on our own actions and ideals.
Lastly, Ms. Kendricks’ class performed the powerful “We Will Rise,” reminding us again of our nation’s greatness, of the generations of Americans who have made America a more inclusive and just country. The students appealed to us to build bridges across our differences, to work toward the common good. They reminded us of the power of togetherness and, together, always choosing to take the moral high ground in order to do what we know is right. We are so proud of their amazing displays of bravery and citizenship. See you in 2017 for our next fabulous Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical fest!
Huge shout out to the Dad's Club who installed seismic strapping to better secure the cafetorium stage lights. They also removed old mounted televisions. Special thanks to Ben Galison, Jennifer Wilson, and Rod Heisler for organizing the DC volunteers. We appreciate our PTA safety committee making this amazing performance possible!