Friday, November 11, 2016

"I want to see my face, not my mask." Davis Academy Middle School Day of Learning at The Alliance Theater

Today Davis Academy middle school students participated in our 3rd annual day of learning at The Alliance Theater. The focus of our day of learning was a timely and powerful play called, Slur. Set in a middle school, Slur tells the story of how the word "Jihadist" came to be spray painted on the locker of a Muslim student in the school. It focuses on both the motivation and the impact of the incident. As with past theater performances at The Alliance, our students and all attendees were captivated.

Following the play, our students had an opportunity to learn from a diverse panel of guests that we assembled to help extend the learning. Thomas Pinckney of The Alliance Theater joined Sherry Frank, long time director of the Atlanta chapter of the American Jewish Committee and civil rights activist, Nicole Moore of The Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Munir Meghjani, a leader of Atlanta's Interfaith community. The discussion was incredibly high level and covered topics ranging from "privilege" to identity politics, to reconciliation after the divisiveness of the 2016 presidential election. 

Back on the Davis campus students participated in a series of rotations focusing on the power of speech, the masks we wear, and the complexity of identity. Poems were written, pieces of art created, and complex ideas expressed. As a participant I witnessed vulnerability, honesty, intentional listening, and much more. 

Days like these reinforce one of The Davis Academy's core beliefs-- that learning is a disposition, not something that takes place only in a classroom and that the best learning influences the way students view the world and the choices they make. 

There could not have been a better way to honor Veterans Day or reflect on the complex events taking place across America and around the world than through a day of learning inspired by a provocative piece of theater like Slur. 

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