Guided by Martin Luther King Jr’s suggestion from his 1957 speech that, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” New Hampton School students and faculty organized a school meeting honoring his work, service to others, and the idea of inclusivity.
Students Serving Others
The school meeting included offerings from faculty and students. This included recognitions for two students in their service of others. Juliette ’20 started a non-profit organization called Chords2Cure which fundraises to support children battling cancer. JW ’19 designed and built a staircase leading down to a local ball park. These thoughtful and inspiring gestures were presented to the community by friends of each of the two students.
Local Community member, Officer Eric Adams of the Laconia Police Department attended the meeting and shared his inspiration and motivation for serving the community. Mr. Adams has dedicated much of his work to helping adolescence with drug addiction through education and prevention programs. This led to a great discussion topic that our students dug into following his visit; consideration of the times in our lives that we have done service for others, when it is not a part of an organized service activity, but rather brought on by our own motivations.
Two students also shared pieces of their own writing. Subhana ’20 shared a piece she wrote called Labels. Her compelling words shared wisdom and thoughtfulness, especially given the courage with which she shared her thoughts for the whole school. Here is a brief excerpt of her words:
“It’s interesting how we, a society, like to blame society, for ruining society. But, you can’t blame society without blaming everyone else. It starts with it being you vs. me which turns into us vs. them. Where there’s division there will be conflict, conflict starts wars therefore every war has started over labels. So, the answer to war, racism, sexism, and every other ism is simple. It’s the labels and we must rip them off.
The truth is we are all different. Not one of us alike. We may not be connected by blood but we are connected at heart. I truly believe that I grow up in a world where people are afraid of people. Where people are afraid of not being normal. But, there is no such thing as normal.
But, before Nelson Mandela, before Martin Luther King, and before Mahatma Gandhi we were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us, and wealth classified us. This day is about service to others and a way I’m asking you to consider serving others is by getting to know them beyond their labels.”
Following the program, students and faculty shared a meal together in advisory groups. A set of questions assisted in prompting thoughtful discussion. For example, “Who’s been a model of service in your own personal life?” Or, “What is one takeaway that you heard from Mr. Adams talk?” Students also thought about challenges to serving others with, “What are some of the obstacles that sometimes get in the way of serving others?”
MLK Day marked a wonderful opportunity to come together and closely examine themes we work to promote every day. Many thanks to our Inclusivity Committee who designed the program, and to all of the students, faculty, and friends that joined in our conversation.