Jessica Halton
Jessica Halton, Director of Development

JessicaHalton, Director of Development

Honoring Dr. King Through Teaching, Learning, and Philanthropy

“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words guide us as we strive to nurture a culture of philanthropy here at Belmont Day. While our six core values—excellence, respect, honesty, responsibility, caring, and joy—are embedded in all that we do, giving our students an understanding of why we practice these values is just as essential. We aspire for our students to develop the skills to help them prevent harm and injustice in the world, not simply identify remedies for them.

This morning’s Martin Luther King Jr. assembly commemorated Dr. King’s life. It explored his teachings about collaboration, strength in numbers, empowerment, social change, advocacy, and amplifying marginalized voices. Our students’ ability to receive and internalize King’s teachings in developmentally appropriate ways moved me. Our students are on their journey to acquire the tools they’ll need to dismantle racism and the systems that uphold it. They are on their journey of understanding the power of the collective voice while developing an awareness of when some voices are unheard or unrepresented.

Beyond the assembly, Dr. King’s legacy is honored and celebrated across campus. The MLK Jr. education committee prepared a wonderful and interactive display in the Schoolhouse gallery featuring the work of Dr. King and other changemakers. Our faculty share his teachings through books and engaging students in meaningful conversations and lessons.

The adults in the community are engaging in self-reflection and dialogue, too. Our recent professional development day introduced the principles and practices of Restorative Justice. Connie Yepez, director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and Anthea Lavergne, director of curriculum and the associate teacher program, led the workshop. Our faculty are committed to creating a safe and inclusive I learning environment for all students. The Restorative Justice framework provides meaningful tools to ensure we achieve that.

Lastly, in upholding Dr. King’s commitment to service, we are collecting donations for Pine Street Inn in January of the most needed winter items. It is heartwarming to see our students and their families engage in our culture of philanthropy at BDS by contributing to this worthy cause at drop-off and pick-up. 

Additional family-friendly opportunities to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service and learning this weekend include:

The JFK Presidential Library and Museum 

A free performance with George Russell Jr. and Friends in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Listeners of all ages will learn how music inspired and motivated Americans during the civil rights movement and enjoy some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite songs.” (George is a treasured colleague of mine from my time at Berklee College of Music—I cannot recommend him highly enough!)

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Bring your family and dive deep into the many ways you can show up for your communities as you engage in the many different activities led by educators, organizers, and cultural leaders dedicated to building a better future for all.”

The Discovery Museum in Acton

Accepting “Birthday-in-a-Box” supplies this weekend to support two local charities whose missions are to create special birthday moments for children experiencing homelessness or in the hospital on their birthdays.

JessicaHalton, Director of Development

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