PV Provides a Day of Service for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Brianna Rodriguez '20
5 February 2020
For Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, Passaic Valley High School held a day of service to honor the memory and influence of the civil rights leader. History and English teachers crafted original lessons focused on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, teachings, and legacy.
Superintendent Dr. Joann Cardillo proposed the idea after realizing how many other schools were recognizing the holiday in a more meaningful way than simply another day off. "We really should start to think to ourselves, What is our project for Martin Luther King Day? How do we make it a day of true community service?" Dr. Cardillo said.
English teacher Mr. Tom Schwab assigned his students an article to read that envisioned a world in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had not been assassinated. A class discussion followed where students shared their ideas of how best to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through acts of service.
“It’s not just about having the day off. It’s about what you do with the day in regard to his legacy,” Mr. Schwab said. “Having a half day gives students a chance to commit themselves to remembering Dr. King and reflecting on this time in history, so to me it was a win-win.”
History teacher Mr. Robert Block provided his students with a reading on Dr. King's early life and his involvement in early civil rights events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Mr. Block includes Dr. King in his standard lessons as well. When he reaches the 1950s and 1960s chapters in U.S. History II and AP U.S. History, he reads several Dr. King speeches with his students and incorporates them into his lessons, comparing the beliefs of Dr. King and other leaders of the civil rights movement.
"One day is not nearly sufficient enough to understand Martin Luther King fully," Block stated. "It is important to understand the ideals that Martin Luther King Jr. stood for as well as the overall civil rights movement that he was a part of."
For MLK day and even other federal holidays, Dr. Cardillo wants to ensure that the community gathers properly to ensure a day of remembrance and volunteerism.