Old Bonhomme School Presented “You Can Build a Bridge” at Their Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Old Bonhomme students shared poetry, performances, videos, readings and music at the Ladue High School auditorium.
Students from Old Bonhomme School presented their program, “You Can Build a Bridge,” at their sixth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Ladue High School auditorium. It was a night dedicated to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his civil rights contribution. Through dramatic performances, poetry, videos, readings, and music themed around the idea to build a bridge between all people, students celebrated Dr. King Jr. as well as those throughout history who built a bridge to gap racial inequality to end racism. Their performance showed how we can build a bridge even today.
Several local mid-century activists who made significant contributions to the civil rights movement were also honored through a dramatic presentation, “St. Louis Bridge Builders.”
Masters of ceremonies, Dr. Derrick Wallace, Director of Diversity, Equality and Safety and Keaton Connors, student at Old Bonhomme welcomed parents, teachers, students and others to open the celebration.
Tammy MacLean, Gifted Enrichment teacher at Old Bonhomme School and District Diversity Committee Co-Chair talked about teaching diversity to students as it relates to the Dr. Martin Luther King celebration.
“It is important within our multicultural district to promote community and diversity. This was a good time to do that,” said MacLean. The school’s diversity committee worked together to plan the celebration.
“St. Louis Bridge Builders” was performed by students who participate in an after school diversity club. This dramatic presentation honored citizens from St. Louis who were active in and who made a difference in civil rights around the 1930’s.
Lisa Roth, Art teacher, researched and found people who were activists during the mid-century and then wrote the dialogue about each individual that was presented by the students. With passion and resolve, students introduced the person they portrayed and told dramatically in first person a brief history of each individual’s contribution. The students worked with Roth to decide on what brief story to tell about the activist they played.
Putting this performance together was a collective effort between students and teachers. Students chose the activist they played at the celebration based on who they found most interesting.
“The kids have had a big part in how this looked as far as scenery and costumes. The kids picked who they wanted to play,” said MacLean.
While students learned all about the activists who lived in St. Louis during the three months leading up to their performance of “St. Louis Bridge Builders” all who attended learned a great deal about the many locals who made a remarkable difference in the civil rights of those in the black community in St. Louis.
Original poems were recited as well as poems written by well known author, Langston Hughes and Stacy Butz’s fourth grade class performed “You Made a Difference.” The Old Bonhome show choir sang “Love Can Build a Bridge” and “One Song.” A cute video, “Building Bridges to Friendship” showed the importance of building bridges of friendship between all races and was created by Sarah Toybes’ and Dede Boudinet’s Kindergartner classes. Jill Wolgamot’s first grade class presented “Ruby Bridges, Building a Brighter Future.”
The performances closed with special guest, Bobby Norfolk, storyteller and comedian. With much animation in his voice and body, he told the story of a town in need of help from an unlikely source, a dragon. The children laughed throughout and seemed to enjoy his storytelling style.
Mia Levine, parent and stage manager, was instrumental in working with the students on their performance, staging, back stage, and the set up of lights and sound.
“Mia got them (the students) amped up today. We had two rehearsals, pizza and theater exercises today (before the evening performance),” said MacLean.
The celebration was in itself a bridge building exercise. As many came together to make it a wonderful presentation.
In closing, Dr. Wallace left us with a few powerful quotes that have the potential to change our thinking and the world in which we live.
“Power at its best is love, implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love, correcting everything that stands against love. And that is by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Wallace. “The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It can not be changed without changing our thinking. That is Albert Einstein,” said Wallace.