Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History

Today, Renaissance Middle School celebrated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our assembly landed on the first day of Black History Month, which has allowed our school to be reflective of the connection between the Civil Rights Movement, the road it has paved for so many and the struggles that we continue to see in the headlines.

In a show of solidarity around issues of inequality, the entire student body marched in silence to the multi-purpose room while the iconic “I have a Dream” speech played over the intercom system. When students arrived in the multi-purpose room they sat and viewed the continued speech until it finished.

Renaissance band performing for student body
Renaissance Students:

Ms. Spagnuolo worked with students who wrote original music and lyrics inspired by the “I Have a Dream Speech.” During the songwriting process students read the powerful words of Dr. King and collaboratively organized their thoughts to craft a message to be performed for their peers.


Song #1 – This is Our Hope, This is Our Faith

Written by: Diaran Haizel, Jaylend Pinchon, Mackenzie Finley & Mina Meyer-Najmi


Song #2 – Freedom

Written by Elijah Farrell


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Perspective on the World Today

The Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity sponsors an Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest. The students who participate are challenged to write a speech on the topic, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Perspective on the World Today.” Schools across Essex County are asked to nominate participants and only seven students are selected to deliver their speech at the group’s annual luncheon. This year Renaissance Middle School 8th Grader, Gael Barker placed second in the county. Not only did he make us proud in representing himself, his family and his school at the Fraternity’s affair, but he was also welcomed to speak at the Montclair Public Schools’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast held on January 21st, which aired on Channel 33. The Renaissance students were treated to his thoughts at our assembly. The roaring applause was indicative of the pride they felt in their classmate.

Ms. Lorusso and our 8th Grade Dance Company held an encore performance from last night’s dance show. The group created dramatic movement to Glory by John Legend. Dressed in flowing blue attire, they depicted the struggle that is often met in the battle for equal rights. Students in the audience watched as each scene in the dance depicted an emotional connection to overcoming obstacles and rising above challenges.  

Our Speaker: Andrew Binger

Andrew Binger is an educator, actor, mentor and community activist from Orange, NJ. Working primarily in the city of Newark, Andrew is passionate about education, the arts and impacting young people.

In 2016 Andrew cofounded Yendor Theatre Company, under the leadership of Rodney Gilbert. YTC is dedicated to developing and producing works reflective of diverse voices including, women, people of color and members of the LGBT community. In January of 2018, Andrew assumed the role of Artistic Director of YTC.

Mr. Binger has a unique connection with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He recently played the role of Dr. King in a play entitled, “Mountaintop.” Opening with a monologue from the play, he drew from his knowledge about Dr. King’s life and applied it to the challenge of emulating this historic giant.

His message to our students was to not make the mistake of thinking that Dr. King’s fight was in isolation or finished. Rather, it was about them. He stressed that they all have a role and responsibility when it comes to civil rights both here and anywhere.

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