Holderness students and teachers gathered in classrooms across campus for a Teach-In to honor and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion Jini Rae Sparkman calls the Teach-In an intentional act, where “we will teach with the intentional inclusion of silenced and often forgotten peoples, histories, societal advancements, technological developments, and scientific achievements. Thus, we will Teach-In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a form of nonviolent protest intent on the positive future change that begins with inclusion.”
This is not the first time that Holderness has hosted a Teach-In as part of its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day remembrances. Beginning in 2017, the Teach-In has become an annual learning opportunity to explore and engage with the often-dismissed achievements of people of color. “The spirit of the Teach-In is that we use this day to honor Dr. King’s legacy and the history and continued contributions of black and African Americans that are often missing from textbooks and student experiences,” says Sparkman. “This moment also highlights what learning looks like at Holderness. This is work that our teachers regularly and thoughtfully incorporate into student learning and the Teach-In has become a moment to make more visible that daily work that is a part of our culture.”
Holderness began the Teach-In with a conversation with Henri Rivers P ’25, ’25, President of the National Brotherhood of Skiers and the inaugural recipient of US Ski & Snowboard’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Award. Rivers reminded the students that the most important thing in this world is to love one another and eradicate hate. He invited each of them to ask themselves: “What do I want—for myself? My friend next to me?” He encouraged students to think about the “why” behind what they want and how that impacts those around them. His message was one of hope as he looked out into the audience.
Some of the topics taught as part of this year’s Teach-In include English classes hosting a rhetorical analysis of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and discussing selected poems by Maya Angelou, Dudley Randal, and Langston Hughes; history classes considering the philosophies of African American thought leaders and political activitists; science classes exploring climate justice and the Out of Africa theory of human migration; foriegn language classes learning about the triangulation of Asian-American identity and the history of French anti-racist movements; even math classes are taking a look at how data can be analyzed from a more objective and empathetic perspective.