Groton Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy

Groton School celebrated the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. over the course of the holiday weekend.  The organization and schedule of events was devised and executed by the members of the Cultural Alliance with leadership from Nya Holder ’12 and Likhitha Palaypu ’11 and under the direction of faculty advisor Rebecca Stanton P’09.  Beginning with the Morning Prayer service in Chapel on Sunday, Groton students listened to a series of readings that included the historical context and events surrounding the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., excerpts from his speeches, and ways to honor his legacy in our everyday lives.  The Choir sang a number of lively gospel hymns bringing the entire congregation to its feet in celebration.

In keeping with the idea of honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. through service, groups of Groton students took part in a variety of regularly scheduled service activities throughout the weekend.  Some went to Our Father’s House, a men’s homeless shelter in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, to serve the evening meal. Another group of students went to Transitions, an organization that helps single mothers transition to economic independence.  Additionally, two Third Formers, Leah Mozzer and Ally Dick, with the help of Sixth Former Bubba Scott, organized a letter-writing campaign to support U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Over 90 students and adults participated, including visiting cartoonist Robb Armstrong, to thank the American soldiers for their service to this country.

Sunday night brought the entire Groton community together to witness the one-man show Incognito, written and performed by Michael Frosberg.  The show chronicles Mr. Frosberg’s upbringing by his mother, step-father, and his extended Armenian-American middle class, white family in Chicago. The story takes an unexpected turn when he decides as an adult to find his birth father; his mother’s first husband.  Speaking by telephone with his father for the first time as a 30-year-old man, he learns that his father is African-American, a detail that his mother had not shared with him.  The quandary of racial identity quickly becomes the focus of the play as Mr. Frosberg grapples with his shifting sense of self, and is introduced to his father’s large and welcoming family.

The capstone of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday occurred Monday morning with the arrival of syndicated cartoonist Robb Armstrong of the cartoon series “JumpStart.”  In an introductory performance, Mr. Armstrong chronicled his dogged pursuit of his artistic dream, the people along the way who supported and motivated him, and the importance of embracing all aspects of one’s life – the good and the bad.  Following the introductory performance, Mr. Armstrong held three separate workshops for the students.  The first explained his process of drawing his strip, the time and space constraints, and the tools that he utilizes – from a ragged cardboard form to his black, Papermate felt-tip markers. The second workshop provided insight into his writing process: how he transforms day-to-day events and small personal catastrophes into moments of shared experience and hilarity.  The final workshop of the day focused on inspiration: where it comes from, how to channel it, and how to share it.  Part motivational speaker, part stand-up comedian, Mr. Armstrong’s performance was a call to being present in one’s life and working through adversity and rejection to successfully achieve one’s dreams.

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