Link’s Choir, Percussion Elective Class, and female music ensemble, Her Voice, performed at the annual Jazz House Kids Annual Student Showcase in Newark recently. Students were directed by Ms. Lisette Santiago, teaching artist, who comes to Link through JHK. By all accounts, the students were amazing!
Students from Link’s Spoken Word Troupe, under the direction of Ms. Erica Bradshaw, teaching artist, performed original pieces for the participants of the Schools That Can 2019 Forum at the Robert Treat Hotel. The pieces focused on self-awareness and self -confidence. Students spent several months in after school sessions perfecting their performance. Kudos, scholars!
Link has been a member of Schools That Can since the late 90’s. It is a national network of urban schools that shares best practices to foster equity in education. The Forum brings educators from all over the country together.
A group of 28 6th grade students participated in “Down Beach to Atlantic City” by invitation of the City of Newark and the NJ Clean Communities Council. This was a reward trip for the students’ efforts in a clean up campaign in Newark last fall. There were presentations in ecology and the importance of beach and ocean cleanup, and loads of fun and games. Students had time to venture onto the boardwalk and the beach…a fine day in the sun!
A group of Link 8th grade students shared an original play, “Cawdel’s Adventures” with second graders at University Heights Charter School and second graders at Phillips Academy Charter School recently. The play is unique, in that the characters are large colorful animal puppets made of cardboard, wire, foam and paint, controlled by the students. The audience was delighted to see the puppets fly, swim and hop across the stage and to be invited to be part of the play themselves!
In the play, the main character, Cawdel, is a crow from Newark who is torn between staying at home or seeking adventures in far-flung places. He speaks to his friends – a variety of birds – about his conflict, and ultimately decides to travel the world. As he goes, he meets up with a series of animals geese, zebras, penguins, a tiger and a shark – who all teach him useful life lessons. Cawdel has to make another decision: to return to his roots or not. During the play, the audience of young children had the opportunity to dance with the puppets and to perform as a school of fish!
The play, which was also performed for Link’s fifth grade class, was developed and rehearsed in an elective class taught by Mr. James Peck over a period of weeks. Students worked hard to make the characters come to life for their audience. This was a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their talents and creativity under the guidance of the amazing Mr. Peck!
Here are some photos from the show when presented to Link’s 5th graders:
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Following tradition, Link concluded Black History Month with wonderful performance by many very talented Linkers last Friday evening. The program was not only a tribute to this special month which highlighted the accomplishments of Blacks throughout history, but also to the grandparents who paved the way for the younger generations.
Link’s production this year featured three 7th grade students acting out Act 1, Scene 1 of A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and as directed by Ms. Claire Snyder, 7th grade literature teacher.. All 7th graders studied this play in the fall, designing and creating a set as one of the several projects associated with the book. The set was used in the evening’s production.
The show also included the play, Decisions, by an unknown author and adapted by Mrs. Sahirah Johnson, Link’s performing arts teacher. The play centers on a grandmother doing her best to raise a teenager amid concerns about gangs and bad influences. During the play there were interludes of song, dance and a video of Link students and staff, produced by Mr. Bernard Clarke, Link’s 7th grade composition teacher, sharing stories and feelings about their grandparents.
As a bonus, student art was on exhibit during the evening. The display included works that were inspired by African American artists, included Jacob Lawrence, Dawn Otoro, Faith Ringold, Dion Pollard and others. The art show was arranged by Mrs. Keva Berutti, Link’s art teacher. What an awesome display!
Thirty-two Link 8th graders participated in a day of science at Students2Science (S2S) in East Hanover, NJ yesterday. This non-profit organization provides hand-on experiments under the guidance of real scientists in a simulated but authentic lab (with great equipment that schools generally don’t have!). The experience is intended to encourage students to pursue careers in the STEM fields and “to improve student aptitude in STEM subject matter.” This is Link’s second year sending students to this program. Student and staff feedback about the experience – this year and last – has been very positive.
While a trip to S2S is special for our students, yesterday offered a bonus. The day was chosen by Bayer Corporation for a special ceremony – for the company to present a check for $100,000 to S2S to help them continue to provide science education that supplements what students receive in their schools. Dr. Philip Blake, president of Bayer, encouraged students to consider careers in STEM – telling them that that Bayer is in hiring mode! Bayer brought in additional speakers: Senator Cory Booker and former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, both great proponents of STEM education. Both the Senator and Dr. Jemison were very inspirational, in their remarks and interactions with our Linkers. Senator Booker expressed concern that there aren’t enough students going in to the STEM fields, so there will be a shortfall of employees to fill the ever increasing number of jobs in those areas. He, like Dr. Blake, encouraged students to take this career route for the opportunities they will have. Dr. Jamieson, in relating her own story, left the students understanding that they need to believe in themselves, and they will fulfill their dreams.
After the ceremony, students accompanied by Dr. Jamison and Senator Booker, returned to the lab to complete more experiments, completing a busy but productive day of learning and inspiration.
Here are some media links recounting the day’s event: