This year's Beloved Community Day happened during a month that was full of conversation about the strength and durability of our nation.
It was fitting, then, that at the day's assembly, Gordon's Middle School students used the metaphor of an old house to reflect on their school, and what makes a community strong.
Throughout the day, in every grade, students showed how the foundation of that house is carefully maintained.
Beloved Community Day is a day for the entire school to reflect on Dr. King's vision for the United States.
The themes aren't new to these students.
They talk about community building and social justice every day, when they discuss taking turns in Preschool, flag raising in fourth grade, and COVID-19 infections and exponential numbers in eighth grade.
But it's good to stop in mid-winter to pause and reflect.
Historically, Beloved Community Day has offered a way for grades to mix and students to work together in new combinations.
COVID precautions presented a challenge to that model.
But students still found ways to collaborate.
They still found ways to connect.
Sixth grade worked together make new connections, beyond Gordon's campus.
They painted rocks with affirmations and left them with houses across the street.
In two years, these sixth graders will graduate.
They will head out into the world beyond Gordon, with an expectation that they will make a positive impact wherever they go.
The rock project was a reverse trick-or-treat, then, a prank with a positive twist.
But it was also a preview of the work Gordon is preparing these students to do in the years to come.
Photos from the day are on Gordon's Flickr site
The fence installation can still be viewed on Martin Street.
The sixth grade's affirmation rocks are somewhere in East Providence...