Speaking in front of the entire Middle School and offering a thoughtful reflection are regular occurrences during Wednesday’s Middle School Assembly. What is unique about our assemblies is that the students, not the teachers, are the ones responsible for designing and leading Wednesday’s 30-minute program.
This past Wednesday was September 11th, Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance. Mr. Forshey and Mrs. Ragan’s sixth grade advisory were given this assembly as their own, and the students and teachers collaborated beforehand to mark this important occasion. Sixth graders Emma Camp, Ivy Cole, Will Fink, Ruth Mulroy, Cam Baker, Brecca Stoll, Jessica Moore, and Aayush Kaushal each played a role in their advisory’s presentation. In front of the entire Middle School, they led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence, and a reading of former First Lady Laura Bush’s letter to Middle School and Upper School students shortly after 9/11. The students then chose to show the following clip to commemorate and celebrate the strength of spirit exhibited in New York City twelve years ago:
As I sat there, marveling at these sixth graders who were timid and unsure a few weeks ago during their first week of Middle School, I could not help but pause, admire, and reflect. Twelve years ago, I was still near the beginning my career in education, teaching at a boarding school in Connecticut just outside of New York. I was teaching sophomore English when my class was stopped shortly after it began, so we could assemble and learn as a school what was happening just south of us. Needless to say, over the next few days I stayed in the dormitory with my students, many of whom had close family working near or at the World Trade Center.
Now, twelve years later, I watched as these twelve-year-olds, who entered the world so close to 9/11, promoted resilience and service to others while stepping outside their comfort zones, speaking to an entire auditorium, and showing maturity well beyond their years. I found great hope, both as an educator and an American, watching these young men and women lead an assembly, and I felt such pride in the students and teachers at Walker whose daily interaction can be so simple, so meaningful, and so inspiring.