On Saturday, February 4th, 2017, fourth grade students from Tuscan School, along with other elementary school students from the South Orange-Maplewood School District, participated in the Maplewood Memorial Library’s Kids Speak Out event. This event was to encourage students to “speak out” and express themselves through writing, art, and music to celebrate African-American History Month. Over one hundred and forty parents, students, and community members attended the reception. Students from Tuscan, Clinton, and South Mountain Schools recited poetry and artwork and poetry from Seth Boyden School students was on display.
According to Maplewood Memorial Library’s Head of Children’s Services, Jane Folger, “Everyone, from young to old, has been delighted to see the students’ work on display in the library. Hundreds of people walk through here each day and spend considerable time looking at the exhibition – reading the thoughts and feelings expressed by the students. It is so important for our community to see the type of work that is coming from our local schools – to really appreciate the depth of learning and awareness that is taking place within each child. And the art reception gave students the opportunity to stand up in public and speak out, to get positive feedback on the great work they are doing.”
Tuscan Students read cinquain, acrostic, rhyming, and free verse poems that they wrote in Ms. Popp’s library classes. These poems honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Some students chose to recite their poems and other requested that Ms. Popp read their poetry. All of the student work was powerful and described Dr. King’s dream and the importance of equal rights for all.
This is the second year that Maplewood Library has held this event. It is a wonderful gathering that showcases the talent of students in the South Orange-Maplewood School District. In turn, students benefited greatly from having the opportunity to share their work with the community.
Pictured above, front row, from left to right: Tuscan students Riley, Elimena, and Griffin; second row, from left to right: Aiden, Jacob, Max, May, and Olivia; top row: Ms. Popp, Tuscan Library Media Specialist.