Gould Academy says “I Have A Dream”

January 18, 2012

OVERHEARD IN SPANISH CLASS: (Student) “Mr. Alford, I need to go get a red pen to take my quiz.”  (Me) “Do you expect to do THAT badly?

Gould Academy, in spite of its diverse population and its desire to be always a part of the World Community can be, and sometimes is, a very insular place.  It’s not that we are sooooo in love with ourselves that we can’t see beyond our noses (or the tips of our skis), and it is not that we have everything at our fingertips and never need leave our oasis in the western Maine foothills (have YOU ever tried to find a salt bagel in the western Maine foothills?).  Really is it because we are so very busy.

And I mean busy.  We got a letter this week reminding us to fill out our state tax return.  From 2009.  We are so busy that we sometimes forego picking up our elementary school-age kids at the end of the school day because, hey, they just go back again tomorrow, don’t they?

Our students are so busy, doing their classwork, competing in basketball games, saving skiers’ lives, teaching MY kids to ski (they do that when they are at school too), organizing food drives for the local pantry, getting into college, and maybe somewhere in there having a social life- they are so busy that they rarely have any time to actually see what’s happening outside of their field of vision.  When I told one of my students recently that the leader of North Korea died, her response was “When did North Korea become it’s own country?”

That busy.

So I love it when we take time out to see what’s going on in the rest of the world (and by that I don’t mean just the Greater Portland area).  This is what we do every Martin Luther King day.  We spend some time engaged in workshops, lectures, and discussions around issues of injustice around the world.  This year’s MLK day was really great.

I attended workshops on the dirty war in Argentina, the protests taking place right now in Russia and the Arab world, and an overview of the assimilation of Somali refugees into the greater Lewiston-Auburn,  Maine community.  All this, and also performances by the Gould chorus (the South African music was especially great) and a participatory reading of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.  Dr. King was one of the great orators in American history, and I still get chills when I hear him deliver this speech.  And having Gould community members recite the speech (me included) is a bit like looking at black and white photos of fireworks to me (pretty, you get the sense of the beauty of it, but something is still missing in the translation).  Nonetheless I was really impressed by the reading of the speech, and I thought it was a terrific way to end the day.  In fact, I have included a link to a short video of an excerpt from the original here, in original 1963 black and white (seems ironic typing that here).

MLK “I Have A Dream” speech, 1963



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