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The Gordon School

Beloved Community Day 2024

Tenth annual schoolwide celebration of King's legacy

Friday was Gordon’s tenth annual Beloved Community Day, and the theme for the day was Storytelling for Change.

The day began with a pair of assemblies where students and faculty bravely shared their own experiences connecting to others as a first step towards leadership and making change.

First to eighth grade did their storytelling in the field house, talking about how art, hairstyles, movement, and ways they’ve come to learn more about an identity that is important to them. 

Eighth graders and their teachers sparked the conversation from the podium, then cross-grade groups swapped stories on the field house floor.

Early Childhood shared their stories through words, song and movement, focusing on the ways they show up for peace and justice at school every day.

The heart of the day was student-led in Middle School, with eighth graders teaching three workshops of their own design.

The Words to Live By workshop drew together elements Langston Hughes’ poetry and the speeches of Dr. King as inspiration, and asked students to generate their own words to live by.

The products ranged from the aspirational to the very practical, including:

The only thing you can control is yourself.
Embrace your humanity. It is OK to feel.
The outcome will be the same whether I worry about it or not.
Don’t let others decide who you are.
Be the self you want to be.
Work hard to get to where you want to go.


And how do you use a personal motto? Students had a lively conversation about what mottos they already live by, and what habits they attach them to:
“when I walk my dog, I remind myself…”
“When my alarm goes off, I tell myself…”
…and sharing inspiring words that parents repeat often.

The Movement, Rhythm, and Resistance workshop pulled in a variety of traditions, from the role of music in the Civil Rights Movement to the way vogueing helped bring visibility to some marginalized populations.

Third grade rolled up their sleeves for three art workshops: one on public art and murals around Providence, another on found poetry inspired by the words of Amanda Gorman, and a design project inspired by the churches in Dr. King’s life.

The design project had students creating stained glass windows, using symbols and words to create a radiant display. The lesson drew in King’s identity as a pastor and a religious leader, which led students into a lively conversation about their own religious traditions.

The core text for the project was Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier, which many alumni will remember from Rappaport’s visit as Gordon’s seventh Karla Harry Visiting Author in 2013.

The stained glass panels went in over the course of the day, and as a grand finale, students peeled off the tape and wrote Dr. King’s words between the panes. Stop by third grade next week to get a look!


When Middle School students reflected on today’s Beloved Community Day before dismissal, they mentioned kindness, vogueing, safety, songwriting, trust, collaboration, resources, Langston Hughes, identity and affinity, patience, and holding the door for others - all items that were, in one way or another, on the curriculum for the day.

The bulk of the day’s workshops were created, designed and taught by eighth graders, which led several of them to an unexpected lesson about the adults in their lives that this one student summed up well.

From Gordon's social media: one two three four lessons celebrating Dr. King’s legacy in the days before Beloved Community Day 2024

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