Prolific children’s author Elvira Woodruff was an inspiration to the entire Lower School community last week.
By telling her own story, she inspired students and teachers on how to unlock their imaginations and start writing! Following an assembly with Mrs. Woodruff, many students wrote some clever stories about numerous things. In second grade alone, topics included adventures with friends and pets, portals for zombies, flying elephants, mirrors that tell your personality, soda cans that come to life, and more. Students really had fun creating!
Mrs. Elvira Woodruff wears additional hats. She is mom to Jesse Woodruff, mother-in-law to Upper School photography teacher Mrs. Lindsay Woodruff, and grandmother to Primer student Eli and kindergartner Sampson! How lucky that she came to share her wonderfully inspiring career. There are stories and a writer in each of us.
Martha Rich joined the Lower School students on Friday, May 3rd to share her work as an illustrator and mural artist. Martha is a featured artist in this weekend’s Southside Arts and Music Festival, which takes place this weekend (May 3rd & 4th) at a number of venues at Bethlehem’s Southside.
Martha has created a beautiful installation at the ArtsQuest Center and has her work on display at the Banana Factory as part of this exciting and inspiring family-friendly festival.
Learn more about Martha Rich and view her artwork by clicking here.
On Friday, April 5, Upper School students, faculty and staff were fortunate to attend a special jazz assembly sponsored through funds from the George N. King Jazz Endowment. The featured artist was Sara Caswell and her Quartet, from New York City.
The quartet performed arrangements of pieces by Michel Legrand, Kenny Dorham, Ray Henderson and Sara Caswell. The group included Ike Sturm on bass, Jesse Lewis on guitar, and Michael Davis on drums.
The quartet was well received by the Moravian Academy audience.
On March 28th and 29th, Moravian Academy had the pleasure of welcoming Oba William King, a nationally recognized storyteller, entertainer, and educator.
According to his bio:
Oba made his debut with the National Association of Black Storytellers at the San Diego conference in 2006 and has ignited audiences ever since. Known as The Poetic Storyteller, Oba’s most significant influence in the art of storytelling came from a sojourn to Benin, West Africa, which led to solo performances to share and celebrate his original Anthem “I Love My People.” Oba is the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award in Traditional Folk Arts, and has been a featured artist on television and radio programs around the country. He has received many awards and honors for his storytelling and has been invited to perform on television, radio programs, and at schools and festivals around the country. His distinct style combines professional theater training with poetry, rhythm, and a playful spirit.
During his visit to both our downtown and Merle-Smith Campus, Oba presented four different assemblies for students in our three divisions, celebrating and sharing the traditional art form of storytelling as a sacred gift. Accompanying Oba during his visit, drummer Baba Kenyattaa Henry also helped lead several of our students as guest drummers on stage during the presentations.
Watch a video of Oba’s visit below:
On Wednesday, February 27, in celebration of African American History Month, Middle School Chapel welcomed author Troy Lewis as our guest speaker. Mr. Lewis shared stories from his memoir, Gas Money, which capture the perspective and imagination of a six-year-old black boy growing up in 1960s Virginia. He spoke of his first day in a desegregated elementary school, the power of a good teacher, and his family connections to Mildred Loving and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He applauded Moravian Academy’s “Can We Talk?” initiative, and the importance of empathy and listening to the stories of others. Each story Mr. Lewis told was rooted in a person, a relationship, or sometimes a random encounter that shaped the author’s life and the man he would become. Mr. Lewis calls such relationships the “gas money” that move us forward in life.
Mr. Lewis received his B.A. in Communications from the University of Nebraska while serving in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years. He then worked in the pharmaceutical sales and training arena, where his coworkers enjoyed his life stories so much, they encouraged him to start writing them down. Copies of Gas Money are available from major book outlets for parents who would like to share Mr. Lewis’s powerful and thoughtful stories with their children.
We were also pleased to welcome our fifth grade this week to experience what Middle School Chapel is all about. We began with these words from 1 Corinthians 12: “Even though we are many, we are one body. You must never forget this. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part flourishes with it.” We ended by singing “We Shall Overcome”, and Mr. Lewis wrote in a thank you note to the school about the emotional moment: “Growing up in my circumstances in Middlesex County, Virginia, never would have I thought that 50 years later I’d join with a predominantly white audience of children to sing those lyrics. In my area of Virginia, there were people who truly hated integration and did everything they could to make that not occur. With the current divisiveness in our country, your Moravian students give me hope for a better future.” Thank you to Mr. Lewis for sharing his stories with us, and becoming part of our “Gas Money.”
Dance professional Dr. RAS Michael Courtney performed and entertained our Lower and Middle School students in two assemblies on Friday, January 18th.His stories, movement, and reflections informed our students about his career path, as well as the importance of celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In between his assembly presentations, Dr. Courtney graciously worked with smaller groups of students throughout the day.
Dr. Courtney is a dance practitioner/researcher/educator who is currently a lecturer at Wayne State University. He holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, an MA in Ethnochoreology and doctorate from the University of Limerick in Ireland in Arts Practice research.
The Upper School has taken several moments to celebrate and honor the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On January 11th, Gail Boyd and Walter Beach III, friends of the Greene family, joined the Upper School for a special assembly to share their experiences within and thoughts on the civil rights movement.
Gail Boyd is President of Gail W. Boyd, P.C., an entertainment law firm, and Gail Boyd Artist Management. She is a graduate of De Paul University and De Paul University School of Law. She was a founding partner in Boyd, Staton and Cave, the first African American female law firm in New York. Gail has been involved in entertainment law since 1976. She has been involved specifically in music with a specialty in jazz since 1979. Gail presently serves on the Boards of the Martin Luther King/Coretta Scott King Memorial, the Allentown Jazz Festival, and the North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents. She is the former Vice Chair of the Entertainment, Sports, and Art Law Committee of the National Bar Association. She also chaired the Entertainment, Sports, Art Law Committee of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and served as a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Entertainment Law. She is a former board member of the International Women in Jazz. She served as a member of the Jazz Jam Committee of the National Association of Recording, Arts & Sciences and on the Board of WBGO FM Radio in New York as well as the Noel Pointer Foundation. For nearly 20 years, she served as Chair of the Board of Brooklyn Legal Services. Her husband, Walter Beach III, serves as the Curriculum Director for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity for PACE, a not for profit corporation. He also serves as Director of the North Eastern Division of Amer-I-Can Foundation for Social Change, founded by Hall of Famer Jim Brown. A Pontiac, Michigan native, Mr. Beach attended Central Michigan University and Yale Law School. He also attended the Unification Theological Seminary. He spent four years stationed in Germany in the United States Air Force as a cryptographer. He served as Special Assistant to the Cleveland, Ohio’s Mayor, Carl B. Stokes, the first African-American mayor of a major United States city. For six years, Walter was a defensive cornerback with the Cleveland Browns professional football team, winning the World Championship in 1964.
Thursday, January 17th, at the recommendation of Liz Burke ’19 and coordination of the upper school diversity committee, Dr. RAS Mikey Courtney, acclaimed dancer, dance professor, and ethnochoreologist, shared with the upper school his thoughts on Dr. King and how dance has intersected with his study of the world’s cultures. As his Wayne State bio says: RAS Mikey’s works are a reflection of his life experience as he strives to use the expressive arts as a bridge for cultural understanding. “Movement is life and I am a Lifist”. Dr. RAS offered the upper school a dance workshop that afternoon and visited the lower and middle school the 18th.
Speeches and sermons from Dr. King were streamed in the student lounges January 18th. Next week, quotes from Dr. King will be shared each day via email with students and faculty to encourage thoughtful conversation and meditation. A sneak peak at Tuesday’s email is below:
Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.
John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms: “No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” And he goes on toward the end to say, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” We must see this, believe this, and live by it if we are to remain awake through a great revolution.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 2 June 1959
On Wednesday, November 14th, the Red Cross Club invited John Weaver, LCSW, a Volunteer Relief Worker and Instructor with the American Red Cross (ARC) Disaster Mental Health Team, to come to campus to speak with students.
Mr. Weaver is a professional acquaintance and founding partner of EYE OF THE STORM, Inc., a private company that specializes in disaster mental health, crisis interventionMaster’sand risk management related training and support. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Moravian College and his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout his career, he has written many articles, several chapters, and three books.
Mr. Weaver frequently is invited to present seminars and papers at national conferences in social work, psychology, counseling, and nursing. He has been an active volunteer with several organizations including the Mental Health Association and the American Red Cross (ARC). He served as Coordinator of the ARC AIR Team’s Family Assistance Center following the 9/11/01 terrorist incident that led to the crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA and then served as an Assistant Officer helping manage the larger World Trade Center relief operation in NY City. In recognition of his service to the organization, ARC has presented him a Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership.
Most recently, Mr. Weaver was in Pittsburgh, PA immediately after and for a week following the Tree of Life Synagogue shootings, helping manage and provide disaster mental health support at the Family Assistance Center and various community events (vigils, memorial services and many of the funerals).
Student club members, faculty and staff in attendance of Mr. Weaver’s talk benefited from his words of wisdom and takeaways from his multiple volunteer experiences. Thank you, Mr. Weaver, for taking the time to share your experiences with our students!
On October 1, the sixth grade had a visit from Dr. Larry Lipkis, professor of music at Moravian College and father to 2 Moravian Academy alumni. Dr. Lipkis made his annual visit to the Middle School to enrich the students’ preparation for the Renaissance Faire field trip. He performs with the Baltimore Consort, an internationally acclaimed early music ensemble specializing in popular music from Shakespeare’s time. The students were treated to a demonstration of Dr. Lipkis’ extensive collection of Renaissance-era musical instruments. He brought some instruments that the students are more familiar with such as recorders and flutes but also some less common instruments such as the sackbut and the gemshorn. The demonstration concluded with time for each sixth grader to hold and play any instrument in his collection. Many thanks to Dr. Lipkis for continuing the tradition of working with our sixth graders!