On Friday, April 28th, 7th and 8th grade scholars enjoyed an exciting Career Day, the purpose of which was to expose scholars to a variety of career fields and introduce them to professional role models. The event opened with inspirational remarks by Kevin Maynor, African American male opera singer who has performed around the world after receiving his formal training at the renowned Manhattan School of Music; and Rev. Dr. Timothy Adkins-Jones and Rev. Dr. Amey Victoria Adkins-Jones, each accomplished professors, community leaders, and ministers. Scholars kicked off the day with strong messages of engagement, seizing opportunities, hard work, and boundless avenues for success. They then proceeded to visit two panels for presentations and conversations about a variety of careers, with panelists sharing their career journeys and jobs with scholars. The panels centered around the following main career fields: Arts/Media, Business/Finance, Community Development, Education, Engineering/Technology/Construction, Entrepreneurship/Small Business, Healthcare, and Government/Law/Military. Most of the panelists were invited to Link by Dr. Michelle Scott, the event organizer and a longtime volunteer/partner of the school. Among the panelists were individuals connected to Link, including alumni and a former teacher. The day concluded with closing remarks by Dr. Scott. We are grateful to Dr. Scott and all the guests who attended the event.
Special Women’s Month Program at Link
Link's female scholars and their female guardians (moms, grandmas, aunts, etc.) attended a special program on Wednesday, March 29th, entitled “Cultivating HER Space in the Garden State. “ A panel of women shared their life's journey and path to their professional careers, as well as wisdom for cultivating a strong mind, body, and spirit. Panelists included Shanika Audige, Principal, North Star Academy Lincoln Park Elementary School; Angela Garretson, Union County Commissioner and Chief External Affairs Officer, NJITl; Patricia Guerra-Frazier, Educator & Community Relations Organizer; and Damilola Odedele, PharmD Clinical Pharmacist, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center. Following the panel discussion, scholars and their female guardians enjoyed a fun pottery painting activity. We look forward to holding this event next year and making it a Link tradition. Special thanks to Ms. Cooley, Ms. Windapo, Ms. Seegers, and Ms. Schuster for creating this wonderful program.
Observing World Water Day 2023
Link’s 7th grade participated in a number of activities on Wednesday, March 22nd to observe World Water Day after reading the novel, “A Long Walk to Water”, by Linda Sue Park. In the novel a young Sudanese girl has to walk miles each day to get water for her family. World Water Day is a United Nations International Day of Observation, begun in 1993 and designed to inspire people around to learn about water-related issues and to take action to make a difference. On this day, 7th grade students:
- Experienced a lab in water filtration with Matt Singer from ThorLabs. Students learned about how to get clean water and how the water cycle works. In groups they made “solar stills” from common materials to filter water and then, used a solar simulator to speed up evaporation. Their stills were weighed before and after to measure how much water evaporated.
- Led a science experiment with kindergarten and first grade scholars to determine what type of well is most efficient for pumping water – one pump or two. And where they worked with the little ones on coloring projects related to water.
- Engaged in an interactive program with guests from the Newark Water Coalition. Students learned about clean water as everyone’s right and, in groups, developed “ideal” waterways to get water to through the land. Each group presented their water landscape to their peers.
- Performed experiments around non-point source water pollution, where rainfall or snowmelt carries natural and man-made pollutants to rivers and oceans, and how it affects watersheds in Mrs. Kutch’s science class.
(Earlier in the month. students ran an obstacle course carrying water on their backs to see what it would feel like carrying water as the young girl in Ms. Park’s novel. Not as easy as it first looked! )
What a wonderful day of learning and leadership opportunies filled well by our 7th grade scholars!
Link Scholars “push through” with author Jasmin Wright
Author Jasmyn Wright visited Link’s kindergarten, first, and fifth grades this week with an awesome message designed to inspire, equip, and empower students to overcome adversity and become change agents in the world. Ms. Wright, the founder of the non-profit We Push Through and an educator, wrote a book for children, “I’m Gonna Push Through,” which puts forth a “mantra” on overcoming obstacles and believing in one’s self. Link’s kindergarten and 1st grade students have memorized and use it as periodic reinforcement. (They recited it in their Black History Month Showcase in February.) During her presentation, Ms. Wright had students perform an exercise in perseverance – carrying a book on their heads across the room. If the book dropped, the student was to pick it up and keep going. The audience cheered them on! The fifth graders also wrote amazing affirmations about themselves to shore up their confidence and self-esteem. The visit was very exciting and uplifting for Link scholars!
Inspiration from a professional football player!
Carolina Panthers' Myles Hartsfield (#38) visited Link this week and shared the inspirational story with students of his journey to becoming a professional football player. Myles, a defensive back with an amazing record, related his passion for football and told of the obstacles he met along the way. He ultimately was drafted, as a free agent, into the NFL where he is on the starting lineup for the Panthers. He encouraged students to make positive friendships with like-minded people and not be pulled down by those who could stop them from achieving their goals. He also mentioned the importance of persevering, as he did, despite obstacles, no matter how devastating those obstacles might seem in the moment. As part of this presentation, Myles had students write down a goal, and then later, write down the friends and family members who could help them achieve their goals. He told them to fold it up and look back on it as they move through life. Thank you, Myles, for motivating Link’s scholars!
Linkers shine in two Black History Month performances
Friday, February 24th was a special day at Link. In the morning, our Lower House students, those in Kindergarten and Grade 1, presented their amazing Black History Month Showcase for families. They recited poems, sang songs, and performed an original play by one of the teachers. Our small scholars spent much time in rehearsal with their teachers, and it really showed – our little scholars were superb and thrilled everyone in the audience. Click here for a video of the program.
A group of Upper House students (grades 5 through8), under the direction of Mrs. Johnson, Link’s performing arts teaching artist, presented an awesome tribute to Black History Month as well, with their program titled “Black History Project: Freedom Quilts and The Underground Railroad.” Our budding actors and actresses present an original play by Mrs. Johnson, a mystery of missing “codes” as exhibited in the Freedom Quilts created as a communication tool for those escaping from slavery through The Underground Railroad. Ms. Rhyan McNeil, Link’s music teaching artist led a choir of students in songs to enhance the play. At the end of the performance, families were encouraged to design their own Freedom Quilt square and these were hung in the gym for all to see. Mrs. Krista Miller, Link’s art teacher, and Mrs. Gwen Howard, former Link art teacher facilitated this project. As Mrs. Johnson stated, “This show was an immersive experience, inclusive of the 3E’s: to Entertain, to Enlighten, and to Educate.” Click here for a video of the event.
What wonderful celebrations we experienced to close out Black History Month!
Here are some photos of the family quilt project mentioned above: