Tradition is an important part of being an Episcopal school, and our Peace and Justice Chapel to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an important one at St. Anne’s. An annual tradition dating from our earliest years, it is fitting that this all school chapel is led by some of our youngest learners. With the simple clarity the very young possess, they remind us that peace is both simple and central to our lives.
This service begins with the entire school lining our hallways in silence, waiting for the sound of Kindergarten teacher Kari Kalloo’s drum. When the drumbeat starts to echo down the hall, heads crane in that direction to get a glimpse of our young marchers as they come into sight. Kindergarteners parade past “the big kids,” holding their peace signs high as they lead the way into the gym for our all school chapel service while their elders fall into line behind them.
When we started our Preschool several years ago, preschool teacher Missy Derabertis asked for a role for preschoolers in the service, and we added the “Martin Luther King BINGO” song performed by our youngest students. (How many of us can say we were singing to 300 people at age three?)
First graders share Dr. King’s story in this chapel, each reading a short part of it. No matter how many times we hear his story, most hear something new each time it is shared.
In her homily, Chaplain Hanna asked students to guess what word stood out for her this year in hearing Dr. King’s story. Children guessed “peace,” “service,” and other important messages in the life of Dr. King until one child said the word that had popped into Mrs. Hanna's head: DREAM. Chaplain Hanna invited us all to think about his dream, and what that might look like. Then she shared her own dream:
My dream is that Dr. King would be able to walk into our school and say, “My dream has come true” here at St. Anne’s.
Our Peace and Justice Chapel to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. is very profound, every year. We are inspired by our youngest learners who remind us of Dr. King’s life, what he believed, and that his dream is within our reach if we continue to strive to attain it.