Upper School students, faculty, and staff gathered together on January 12 for the annual Community Day to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Reflecting the school’s ongoing commitment to Ethical Leadership, the Upper School devoted a full school day to activities outside of the classroom centered on connection and service. The Student Diversity Leadership Committee (SDLC) opened the event with a presentation on MLK and shared lessons to be taken from his life. Afterward, the community watched the documentary, Of Many: Then and Now, which explores the collaboration of a Rabbi and an Imam and the work they are doing at NYU to encourage interfaith dialogue, collaboration, and service. Students and advisors then came together to discuss lessons from the film, connections to Dr. King, and how these values can uplift the MKA community.
The second half of the day centered around service. Students could choose projects off campus, including volunteering at Toni's Kitchen or the Community FoodBank of Hillside. Other on-campus options included packing sustainable lunches for Bridges Outreach, creating activity kits for Oasis, or making stuffed animals, hats, blankets, cards, ski crafts, or activity books.
In addition, the new MKA Pantry was painted by students and unveiled to the community. Food insecurity is a struggle for many, and this Pantry is a visible reminder and an ongoing way for our community members to alleviate this need in partnership with local organizations. The Pantry stands in the Upper School lobby and community members can donate food and other essential items as they wish.
Looking back at the very full day of activities, Upper School Dean of Student Life and Tri-Campus Chair of Ethics Kerry Verrone said, ”Students were enthusiastic, engaged, and appreciative of the time they had at school doing something very different to help the broader community as one small way to honor MLK Day.”