Advancing the Dream: APS Students Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Mays 2Wednesday, August 28th marked the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Students across the district participated in innovative classroom lessons focused on the march, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and important aspects of the civil rights movement in America.

At Mays High School, social studies classes watched documentaries highlighting the civil rights movement and presented research projects about topics such as segregation, the bus boycott, influential civil rights leaders, and comparisons of life then versus now. A reporter from the Los Angeles Times was on hand to cover the innovative and insightful classroom instruction.

Below is an excerpt from the Los Angeles Times article:

The focus in Room 2313 at Benjamin E. Mays High School this week was on civil rights. But as with much of life in Atlanta — a city steeped in history and muddled in the present — the past kept getting overshadowed by the here and now.

The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, an event headlined by this city’s favorite son, the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Desirée Welch, 15, consulted with a small group of classmates huddled around a classroom computer to research the forced integration of U.S. schools — former Alabama Gov. George Wallace standing in a University of Alabama doorway to prevent two black students from enrolling, the screams hurled at the first nine black students who attended Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Students at Bunche Middle School watched a live stream of President Obama’s commemorative speech and wrote essays on how they will advance the dream. photo 2

Toddasia McClendon, an 8th grader at Bunche Middle School, explained how she will reflect the dream in her life.

“I can go to school, help out in the community, be proactive by taking responsibility of my actions, and encourage my peers to do their best,” she explained. “I will also follow my own dreams in life.”

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 1.35.34 PMStudents at Fain Elementary watched a documentary during their social studies rotation, and visitors from 11 Alive news even paid the school a visit!

Students at Coretta Scott King were invited to participate in the ringing of the bell at Stone Mountain Park.

Numerous children and adults hiked up Stone Mountain, one of the places mentioned in King’s speech. At the mountain’s summit, Lunye’ Powers, Diamond Ellis and Cornaya Byrd  — students at the Coretta Scott King’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy Middle School — divided the speech into three parts and read their parts aloud.  The group listened to a recording of King’s speech, sang “We Shall Overcome,” and at 3:00 p.m., the exact hour King delivered his infamous speech, they “let freedom ring” from Stone Mountain, GA by ringing bells. CSK2

Students in Mr. Weem’s class at Parkside Elementary took a virtual field trip to the King Center and read a picture book about Dr. King’s life and legacy.

11Alive captured some of the Dream Day activities students participated in at APS. Click here to watch the video.

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