The site of my school has a history. On February 2, 1959, four black students integrated what was then called Stafford Junior High, an all-white secondary school. It also was the first integrated secondary school in my town and also in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.
Four years ago when the buiding on this site was being renovated and an addition was being added, the district decided the school would become a middle school and it needed a new name. Dorothy Hamm was the strong advocate would fought against school segregation and her name was picked. Now I proudly teach at Dorothy Hamm Middle School.
My principal is dedicated to ensuring all staff and students know who Dorothy Hamm is and what our school history is. This year, she proposed teacher teams participate in a Scavenger Hunt to be reminded of our history. I took her idea and made these directions. Then my collegues ran with it! I am so proud of all the exploring and learning that occurred during pre-service week! ALL their photos on this Padlet made me smile.
Do you know your town’s history? Specifically, do you know its civil rights history? I encourage you to be curious and do some research. At our staff meeting on Friday, I awarded a few teams with prizes – 1st team to complete this homework, team who visited ALL the sites on the list, team with the most creative photos and the one with the most inspiring sentence description. Then I reminded all of Maya Angelou’s quote:
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
I do feel that by knowing my town’s civil rights history, I can and will do better.
How about you?