In 2009, the first two classes of Melrose Leadership Academy dual immersion kindergarten students started school. Last month, the first two classes of 8th grade MLA dual immersion students finished middle school. I photographed the June 7, 2018 promotion ceremony and a celebration dinner the day earlier.
When we started at the school, we could only imagine the first 8th graduation class. Now, these students are part of the school’s legacy. I have included photos from the first kindergarten graduation as well as photo galleries from the Promotion Ceremony and 8th Grade Party.
I have collected nearly 100 photography galleries in my MLA Photography Collection. I started photographing some of the graduating Melrose Leadership Academy students when they were still in pre-school. My daughter was part of the first kindergarten class; my son started two years later. My children did not finish at MLA, but they are also part of the legacy.
Nelson Mandela would have turned 100 today. When he visited the United States, he said,
“If there’s one lesson we can learn from the struggle against racism, in our country as well as yours, it is that racism must be consciously combatted and not discreetly tolerated.” When I became involved with MLA, it was a conscious decision to combat inequality in public education.
Acknowledging success is important. Many of the MLA students graduated with biliterate certificates. The students can read, write and speak fluently in two languages. Families attended two events. There is a new mural wall for the 8th graders. The local community has consciously celebrated their students.
I wish that I could have done more for the first graduating class. They are truly exceptional. However, in America, we are more likely to celebrate affluent schools that offer AP classes than dual immersion public schools.
The school and the students have come a long way. If I did not have the pictures, I might not believe it. I still hope that receive some special recognition some day. I want the recognition for the students, but I also want it for our country. I want to know that our country is “consciously” rewarding those who are making a difference.
See Notes on a Blog for more of my thoughts about this post and older Melrose Leadership Academy posts.