Middle School Alabama Odyssey 2017 Day 5

Day 5 – Sunday

Church service at Ye Shall Know the Truth Baptist Church

Picnic with Mary Lee Bendolph and the folks of Gee’s Bend.

Afternoon – Dr. Bernard Lafayette

Evening – Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Boynton

I rarely go to church and it’s usually on Christmas Eve. The atmosphere in this church was so different from the ones that I have been to with my family. The singing especially was really different. They seem to have so much more energy and it was really powerful to see and be a part of.   -Emmy

Being with the people of Gees Bend was like being with people you already knew.    -Riley

Mary Lee Bendolph (from Gees Bend) was like the nicest woman I ever met.   -Van

(Editor’s note: Today we discovered Van’s natural talent for quilting. Get that boy some sewing needles!)

Dr. Lafayette’s stories were amazing and he and his wife were so friendly. It’s hard to comprehend that of everything he endured in his career, the scariest thing was riding a horse. He was very funny, too. Afterward, I got his autograph and he wrote “To Leah, the future is in your hands.” Then I asked him if he had known Septima Clark from the SCLC and he did!!! I am so happy. Estatic, even.

-Leah

Dr. Lafayette: freedom fighting, snake holding, AK-47 swallowing, horse fearing, badass.    -Mason

Hearing Lafayette’s story showed me that even the small contributions you make toward equality are worth it.   -Huxley

Just thinking about how incredibly courageous [Dr. Lafeyette] was. Until now I don’t think I’ve grasped how crazy powerful nonviolence is. He protected a man that beat him, pointed a gun, and planned for his murder. I would never have the intense dedication, power, patience, and courage to do that now but I hope someday that I will.

[Dr. Lafayette] started talking about fear and how sometimes you find yourself in situations and have to stand up even if you don’t know the consequences.    -Zoe

 

Middle School Alabama Odyssey 2017 Day 4

Day 4 – Saturday

Journeys for the Soul with Joanne Bland

Brown’s Chapel – Cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Charlie Lucas – “Tin Man” Artist

Surprise meeting with Afriye We-Kanduthis

Dinner at Healing Waters Retreat Center

Talk with State Senator Sanders

[Joanne Bland’s] passion for history and her passion for spreading seeds for the future was evident in every move. When I held the stone that John Lewis stood on, when I felt the power of the place we were standing, felt the power of history channeled through Ms. Bland, I knew I had to make my change, fulfill my piece in the jigsaw puzzle. -Julia

As we sat in the pews [of Brown Chapel] all I could think about was Shea or Rachel [from Selma, Lord, Selma] or Dr. King may have sat here. As we made our way from the church and looking at the I Have a Dream monument made me think of how invested Sophie was in changing it. -Nomi

When we pulled up to Brown Chapel the first thing I saw was that the memorial said, “I have a dream,” and that just gave me so much hope that I even might have had some part in changing that made me feel like I can really help and change what I think is wrong in the world. -Lily B

Charlie Lucas’ art was really beautiful. I love most of all when he said, “Make something every day,” because it spoke so beautifully of how important it is to never stop at what you can do. Always strive one step further. -Tula

I had a really fun time playing drums with all those people. I like the way they got everyone to join in in some way by playing or just clapping. I thought the one chant that Afriye was doing was super cool. The way it sounded was really satisfying. -Daniel


I didn’t really like going to the drumming place, but I think Afriye said one of the most powerful things I heard all trip. She said not to be blind to color, because we should be conscious of race, but not to base our decisions and opinions on it. -Hayden

I can’t really sum this day up in a sentence, but then again you can’t sum our history as a nation up in a sentence. That’s what today was: a day with love, hate, compassion, forgiveness, community, and unity. For me the most inspire minutes of the day were spent with Ms. Bland in the graveyard. It is a magical place right there in the center of community between the graves of those who built this nation and those who may have worked to take it down. The moss grew off the trees, long, twisted, soft, and overtaking. The moment that I experienced is honestly a very lucky one, and one that I will remind myself over and over not to forget. Not to forget that we are the most powerful force in our sacred world. -Alex

 

Middle School Alabama Odyssey 2017 Day 3

Day 3 – Friday

Joe Minter –“Africa in America”

Gip’s Place – Henry Gipson 3101 Ave C Bessemer (last juke joint in Alabama)

LaQuita and students at Wilkerson Middle School

On to Selma

Dinner with our hosts – Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation at

Healing Waters Retreat Center

[Going to see Joe Minter] felt like a tributary timeline to all of the people who fought for their rights mixed within landmarks of the world’s history. His connection to God could be seen in each piece of art in the yard and the relationship between his works and religion as so clear. -Lucy F.

Through the Blues he spoke, and through our hearts we listened. -Mason

“No black, no white, just the blues.” Henry Gipson’s catch phrase resonates in my ears, uttered by a bellowing, spirited voice, a voice to match the unstoppable soul of the ninety-seven year-old musician. Reading the phrase my mind has the touch of a little instrumental at the end, a twang of foot-tapping, head-bobbing, musical chaos. A twinkle in the eyes of a weathered man sparks a smile on the faces of twenty-five kids. -Magda

My favorite part of the day was talking to the kids from the other school… It made me think about these kids growing up black, knowing their history, and knowing what they wanted. One thing I remember that Jordan said was, “We hold the key to our future.” -Zoe

I’m excited and nervous to meet with Joanne Bland tomorrow. Talking with the kids today I thought a lot about it, and realized that we were learning about our history so that we can move forward, and except what people did in the past and think about that when trying to make progress in the future.

– Emmy


Middle School Alabama Odyssey 2017 Day 2

Day 2 – Thursday

7:30 breakfast at Hargis (40 minutes to)

10:00 visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

11:30 Lunch – Zoes Kitchen

1:00 16th Street Baptist Church – Mrs. Lee

2:30 Children’s March participants Janice Kelsey  and her brother Alvin Wesley in the lecture room at BCRI

3:30 Performance/Poetry with LaQuita Middleton-Holmes

Dinner at Dreamland

Home to Hargis

Today was all new. I feel that there was nothing that we as a class did today that wasn’t new and it was amazing. It was a giant adventure and I loved it. It was so cool to meet people that were actually a part of the struggle for civil rights and are still working at it today. To read about marches is one thing, but to listen to someone talk to you in person about their experiences with such things was amazing.   -Sam

We hung out on the lush lawn of Kelly Ingram Park awestruck in the shadow of the children who had been there before us.  -Julia

Janice and Alvin have lived through so much and they are living history. It is important to know the history from people that lived it right up front. It’s actually amazing. Each and every individual children’s march participant has a story and they deserve to be heard.  -Leila

Just imagining the children stampeding out of the church only to be hosed down. It felt like everywhere we stood had a 100 different moments of significance.   -Eliot

Sitting in the pews (at 16th Street Baptist Church) that so many had sat in before me, I could picture the church overflowing with people and songs of freedom filling the hearts and minds of everyone… This is where 4 innocent girls died. This is where the nation looked at and finally realized it was time for a change. This is where humanity was thrown out the window.   -Lucy F.

 

Middle School Alabama Odyssey 2017 Day 1

Day 1 – Wednesday

What a day. After a swift and jubilant flight to Chicago we found ourselves with a 4 hour delay. We did a little terminal surfing, Starbucks slurping, card playing, aeronautic cuisine tasting, and generally did basically everything terminals 1 and 2 had to offer at O’Hare International.

But we made it, got our beautiful vans, and drove to our Birmingham home, The Hargis Retreat Center. We sang, we dialogued about why we have come, and read from Eric Holder’s analysis of our countries racial challenges. Then we packed everyone off to bed…we hope…Spirits are high, generosity is aplenty. We are ready.

Math Day at Hilltop, Sat. Feb 11, 9-11:30 am

Math Day at Hilltop, Saturday, Feb 11 from 9 -11:30 am. Bring a dish to share for lunch and we’ll provide pizza.

Learn how math is taught the Montessori way. Parents will be treated to a journey of our math curriculum through the years, from toddler to eighth grade, with ample opportunity to ask questions along the way.

Meanwhile Hilltop students are invited to a very special, FREE, Circus and Storytelling Workshop with local performers, Bill Forchion, Billy Higgins and Kali Quinn in our Arts Barn. With the help of these talented performing professionals, the children will stage a performance that very morning after the math presentations. You won’t want to miss that!

RSVP by emailing frontdesk@hilltopmontessori.org with the number of adults for the math presentation.

Dec 20, 12 – 1 pm Ginormous Cookie Swap, Craft Sale and Raffle

Save the date! Tuesday, December 20th – Noon
is our Annual Ginormous Cookie Swap, Holiday  Craft Sale and Snowflake Tricky Tray Raffle!
Bring in a batch of your favorite homemade cookies on Tuesday, December 20th for our Annual Ginormous Cookie Swap. Buy a box, sashay down the line of delectable treats and fill yours to the brim with cookie goodness!
Were also collecting small items from merchants and crafters, like gift certificates etc. for a modest “tricky tray” raffle. We sell raffle tickets and you choose the item you’d like to win and place your ticket in that item’s jar.
In the recent years, we’ve invited students and parents to sell their crafts. Our very own Cheryl, teacher from the Birch Room, sells gorgeous wreaths, maple syrup and other fun crafts.