Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

Cross-Divisional Connections in Honor of Dr. King

Cross-Divisional Connections in Honor of Dr. King

By Ben Gott & Jennifer Ferreira
Equity & Inclusion Team

Traditionally, GFA has gathered as a PreK–12 community to listen to speeches, songs, and stories that help to illuminate the words and ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, COVID-19 precautions have since limited our ability for all grades to gather together. However, many of our students have raised their voices and expressed an interest in going in a different direction with the former assembly tradition. And, with their leadership, GFA is about to embark on an exciting project that will combine community service, cross-divisional partnerships, and reflections on Black history—all while celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King and his Dream.

Lower School students, who cannot yet gather in person, had the exciting opportunity to watch a short video interview with Chelsea Phaire, a 12-year-old student from Danbury who began a non-profit called “Chelsea’s Charity.” Lower School Equity & Inclusion coordinator Jennifer Ferreira spoke with Chelsea over Zoom, and the two had the chance to talk about several aspects of Chelsea’s work. You can watch the video here. Chelsea shared that art helped her heal when she lost her grandfather, and this experience sparked her desire to support children in their time of need. She explained that her charity provides art supplies and art lessons to children. Chelsea endeavors to help others know that art is a start to healing, expression, communication, and so much more! Chelsea’s act of service has inspired the Lower School, and they are eager to support the work Chelsea’s Charity does for children. Students will collect art supplies, such as packs of crayons, washable markers, and coloring books, which will be used to make art kits that Chelsea can deliver to children and others who need them.

The Middle School is building upon the Lower School’s work starting with a student-led presentation during our morning assembly. Seventh graders Nia Forbes, Jaiden Jackson, Abdallah Niass, and Ben Johnson spoke with their peers about the history of MLK Day and about the reasons why we celebrate Dr. King’s words and work. As the students reminded us all, Dr. King “awakened a nation through powerful speeches that painted a portrait of the mistreatment of its Black citizens and other injustices. He inspired millions with his poetic words of hope, many of which we still seek comfort in during times of struggle today.”

Additionally, throughout February — in recognition of Black History Month — members of the Middle School’s Black affinity group will continue to educate our community about Black leaders, Black history, and the contributions of Black Americans—past, present, and future. Middle School students will also be working in partnership with our Lower School friends to collect art supplies for Chelsea’s Charity—and while have the opportunity to hear directly from Chelsea herself. She will be at GFA to speak to the entire Middle School during a special afternoon assembly on Tuesday, February 1.

This collaborative, cross-divisional approach will help our students see the connections between Dr. King’s words and their deeds more clearly than ever. We hope that GFA’s reconsideration of what a “celebration” of Dr. King means will also serve as an inspiration to other independent schools looking to acknowledge Dr. King in an authentic, relevant, and student-centered way and to create new traditions in our communities.