Beginning today, Jan. 18, St. Johnsbury Academy will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King by hosting speakers, presentations, and focused discussion in individual classes and advisories. Dr. Rev. Robert A. Potter, who spent time with Dr. King in the 1950s and 1960s, will join us for virtual Chapel on Monday morning. Rev. Potter will share stories of his meaningful experiences with Dr. King, and help us think about how we can continue to uphold the values of service and what King called “beloved community.”

“Dr. King,” says Reverend Potter, “would want there to be sufficient time for good work.” So, for the remainder of the week, the Academy community will engage in various service projects as a way to genuinely live out those values. Students will organize projects such as coat and food drives to support the local community. It is the school’s custom to observe the holiday as a day “on,” instead of as a day “off,” believing it best serves the mission to educate for character, foster inquiry, and build community by spending this day with students, reflecting on the enduring contributions of Dr. King.

As a school, the Academy has a special responsibility not only to pause our ordinary work to remember Dr. King, but to fill that pause with different work — the work of considering carefully those principles, ideas, and actions that made Dr. King and his movement into a transformative force in the nation. These principles of love, service, equality and justice remain as keenly necessary to the nation’s health and progress as they were during the civil rights struggles of the last century. It is more urgent than ever that we celebrate Dr. King’s life and work by actively teaching young people about it, and doing the “good work” of serving our communities.

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