By Effiana Svarre
This past month saw the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly. Following Mamaroneck High School tradition, students and faculty joined together for two assemblies filled with dance, music and poetry. The performance honored King and his messages about equality, love and peace, enabling students to keep his memory alive.
The assembly has been a tradition in Mamaroneck since the 1980s. Before it was a school-only production, the assembly was held at night, featuring acts by participants from all around the district. The assembly has been led by social studies teacher Shannon Porter since its first installation.
Students who volunteer to perform traditionally center their acts on a theme. This year, the theme was “All Lives Matter.” The program included acts by groups such as The Force, the Tap Team and a rock band, as well as by individuals such as Mariah Segura ’19, who performed a poem. Some acts also included visual components, such as the cello and singing solo by Chloe Malushaga ’17. Her performance included moving images of the Syrian refugee crisis, which contributed to a message of our responsibility to fight injustice in the world.
Other students also used their work to convey messages of equality and fighting injustice. One such student was Mariah Segura ’19, who was inspired to write her poem because she believes “that all lives matter and that all people are people.” She continued by saying, “No matter their sex or race, I tried to speak for them in my poem.”
There was something else that made this assembly unique. For the first time, the choir, the orchestra and dancers joined together to perform “Glory” by John Legend and Common, from the movie “Selma.” It was the first time an act like this was attempted and the results were truly remarkable.
Though some acts were not entirely related to the themes that the assembly was based on, “The diversity of the acts and of the students that participate in it relates to the inclusive attitude that Dr. King had.” Porter continued by saying that it “allows for people who are not in the mainstream concerts and performances to express themselves in front of the school.”
Every year, we rejoice in the fact that we have a three-day weekend. More time to sleep, more time to watch Netflix and more time to take a break from school. What the holiday is really about is the unique individual who helped change our society for the better and whose ideas and dreams are still relevant in our society today. MLK Day represents a period in history where great changes were made, and our annual assembly helps remind us of that. It is important for us to hold on to the ideals of love and acceptance that King had preached almost half a century ago.
Photo courtesy of Fred Levine: “Assistant Principal Michael-Joseph Mercanti-Anthony guest-starred in The Force’s performance, rapping “All of the Lights” as the drummers played the piece with boomwhackers.”