What would it take for you to risk everything (money, comforts, safety) for a cause? What cause would compel you to be “all in”? Our middle school students dug deep inside themselves to answer this question this week. In a lodge near a lake in central Alabama, they sat in a circle one evening, a banjo strumming, 47 voices singing “Got My Mind Set on Freedom”. They have spent this week immersed in study of Civil Rights, walking in the path of the historical events of Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and Memphis.
I was so blessed to join the middle school students for a part of their Civil Rights trip, and to learn with them and about them as they contemplated history. I was horrified with them as we heard first-hand accounts of the violence, intimidation and discrimination that was once lawful in the deep south – and I was inspired by them as they were awed by the successful use of non-violent tactics to bring attention to injustice and change America forever.
Each year, our entire middle school focuses on a theme of social justice. This year, the theme is civil rights. After this week of deep learning that integrated ethics, Jewish values and self-exploration, we will spend the rest of the trimester considering how we can take meaningful action.
It is an honor to help elevate the intellectual space that occupies the minds of adolescents. During this stage of life, Mirowitz students engage with challenging material and learn about the power of the ordinary individual and the potential of community. When children grow up thinking about important things, they become passionate and compassionate adults. We hope to light a fire inside our students that propels them to fix what is broken in the world around them.