Shaw Avenue Students Look Up to Historical Figures

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Shaw Avenue Elementary School students were educated on prominent figures from the Civil Rights Movement through performances by Bright Star Touring Theatre on Jan. 28. Connecting to Valley Stream District 30’s theme of the year “Lift Every Voice,” Bright Star performers Malcolm Hayden and Caylyn Jarmon-Vinson presented their productions of “Let Freedom Ring: Music & Poetry of Black History” for students in grades 4-6 and “Meet Dr. King” for students in grades K-3.

Fourth, fifth and sixth graders were introduced to important people such as Maya Angelou, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth during the “Let Freedom Ring” performance. Hayden and Jarmon-Vinson educated students on the Civil War, the Abolitionist Movement, powerful songs, speeches, stories, poems from the time period and more. The students were encouraged to make a difference in the world just like the activists that were introduced on stage.

“We’d like to remind you of the words of Dr. King and remind you that when we stand up for what is right, when we stand up for justice is when we truly let freedom ring,” Jarmon-Vinson told the students.

The younger students were introduced to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Meet Dr. King.” Before the performance, Principal Christopher Colarossi reminded students that Shaw Avenue School is a family that comes together despite different individual backgrounds and skin color, which is what Dr. King believed in.

“Dr. King worked really hard for what he believed in and to this day, we live by his words,” he told the students.

While learning about Dr. King’s life, the students developed a better understanding of who he was as a person and the concepts of freedom, integration and equality. The goal of both performances was to inspire students to be inclusive, use their voices and make a difference in the world.