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News from the North House Weekly News & Reflections from the Middle School

A Message for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

On Monday, our nation will honor one of its most beloved and influential citizens—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through his strength of character, perseverance, and courage, Dr. King proved to be one of our country’s greatest and most inspiring advocates for peace. His compelling words encourage us to believe in the profound potential within the human spirit to construct a world of compassion, peace, and justice. His powerful actions call us to act on our deepest convictions through recognizing our interdependency and acting out of a heart for justice and service to others.

That is why, in 1994, Congress designated this holiday a day of service—“a day on, not a day off.” It is intended to be a day on which people feel compelled to take time away from school and work for the purpose of contributing positively to their communities in some way. In this way, we may collectively honor Dr. King’s efforts through working together toward a stronger and more peaceful future in our own families, communities, and the world.

Too often in today’s busy world, the meaning of this day gets lost. The added day of rest, understandably, becomes a welcome repose and helps in the regaining of a sense of balance in all life’s responsibilities. It becomes an opportunity to retreat from the world rather than engage with it. But may we remember this day that positive contributions to society do not always need to be monumental acts of charity. They can be small acts of kindness. A phone call to a loved one. Shoveling a neighbor’s walk. Speaking (and typing) kindness and encouragement to others. The potential within the human spirit for the peace and compassion that Dr. King so beautifully exemplified exists even in the smallest acts—the ‘everyday’ moments that can be quickly forgotten or go unnoticed by those who do them, but remain vivid in the memories of those whose lives they touch.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A few updates

Dr. King’s convictions align so beautifully with those of Dr. Montessori, which is why students at HMS learn about the importance of community, service to others, and the importance of peace.

The service division of North House Specialties continues its work in helping to train a service dog--Annie. It's just a few weeks until Annie takes her test! She will be a true blessing to someone in need.

Our Model UN team has been putting finishing touches on their position papers and preparing to make informative display boards about the countries they are representing.

In just a couple of months, they’ll be working to resolve global problems--from nuclear proliferation to the elimination of racism--with 2,000 other Montessori students from around the world in New York City!

Meanwhile, the Youth Impact Forum continues preparing its presentation for the New York conference. They’re working on a Spring fundraiser that will benefit refugee children by collecting backpacks filled with educational supplies.

We held our first Council meeting of winter this week, which always calls everyone to an awareness of community, our work together, and the formality of respectful civic behavior.

It is a professional meeting in which democratic principles and respect for all voices helps to maintain a just and productive community of adolescents--always a work in progress, but noble work indeed.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

An added note

This week, students will complete their current novel and begin reading a book that will correlate with their upcoming science studies on health and nutrition. We’ll be reading Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel J. Siegel.

If the title sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve often quoted and mentioned the book in newsletters over the years. Siegel does an excellent job at analyzing and explaining the workings of the teenage mind. And, he wrote the book with the intent that parents/guardians would read it along with the adolescents in their lives. It's written for both teenagers and adults! If you are interested in reading it along with your son or daughter, you can visit our friends at The Learned Owl or order it online from the link below:

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