This is a guest post co-written by Lower School Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chairs,  Danté Johnson and Karrah Lewis

The words, “Every Raven, Every Day,” chanted by a little over 400 Lower School students and faculty, could have possibly been heard a few yards outside of the gym. The excitement of the day was exhibited within the smiles, the laughter and the uplifted voices as each student joined fifth grade instructor Danté Johnson in singing a popular Nigerian children’s welcome song, “Funga Alafia,” which means “Greetings, I bring to you.”

Pre-Kindergarten teacher Lana Dubose read an inspiring book entitled I Am Enough by Grace Byers. The book illustrated ways of loving who you are, respecting others and being kind to one another.

Our Lower School counselor, Mary Ripple, and Kindergarten teacher Karrah Lewis followed the reading by sharing with the Lower School community the logistics of Identity Day. They presented thoughtful questions for the students to consider as they explored student identity projects during a Gallery Walk.

The Identity Day projects included creative posters, art work, photo albums, captivating 3D sculptures and “techy-driven” slideshows. All projects were created at home and exemplified each student’s identity — going beyond the surface.

In conjunction with Identity Day, the students gathered in various places around our Lower School campus for Mix-It-Up Lunch which involved conversations with another grade level. Within their groups, they read conversation starters and shared their own experiences. Students were actively listening, smiling, laughing and discovering similarities and connections. Following the sharing, each student took time to reflect on what they learned about another student. We also encouraged the students to look within themselves and identify some traits they possess that positively enhance our learning community. We enjoyed eating lunch in the mix!  

As our students continue to reflect on this joyous day, we hope that these words will ring in their mind:

We are all alike AND different. That is what makes our community special and wonderful. No matter who I am, where I’ve come from, where I live, who I admire, what I eat, what games I play, how I learn, what church or temple I attend or even if I don’t attend one at all, no matter what color my skin is, what language I speak at home, how much or how little I have, I am an important part of this communityand I am glad to be here!

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