The Dream Experience
About the Author
Rhonda Faye Adorno
Rhonda Faye Adorno has been teaching English Language Arts and Chess at One School of the Arts since January 2014. She holds a BA in English from Rollins College and is currently pursuing a Master of Education degree in Curriculum Development and Outcome Assessment. She is a published author, speaker, and works to raise awareness about child endangerment issues including neglect, abuse, and human trafficking. Her favorite writers include Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edith Wharton and favorite children's story is "A Little Princess." A native Floridian, Rhonda enjoys spending time with her family at the beach, in the great outdoors, attending cultural performances, and finding news ways to help others fall in love with creativity and language.
THE DREAM EXPERIENCE
Written by Rhonda Faye Adorno
One School of the Arts’ scholars have had a focused and integrated experience for Black History Month. There is always another way to experience the beauty of diversity, and, as a whole, it was important that our upper school scholars experience it intimately through the performing and communicative arts.
The first experience was through film. Scholars were invited to see the 2015 Oscar- nominated movie, Selma, and many attended with their siblings, friends, and parents. Unapologetically, the film presented the events that took place in Selma, Alabama while weaving in key moments and historical figures at momentous times. It balanced the stark realities of the time period with the calm rise of hope. The audience left on a profoundly uplifting note. With skill, the film ushered us into the acrimonious streets of the 1960’s South, and deposited us into the celebratory reality that no dream is too big.
What I appreciated most about this film, for the sake of the scholars, is that it captured the humility of the man behind the dream. It was a blessed opportunity that our scholars were able to see this film, for free, and then emerge from the dim theater moved, wiser, and even honored by a stranger’s handshake who proudly thanked them for coming out view it.
Learning at One School is about experiencing education. There is no better way than providing opportunities where community and culture converge. The scholars were able to walk across the same bridge as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and experience his dream…while experiencing his dream.
The second experience was through the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Presently in Language Arts, 8th grade scholars are reading the canonical novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. Although, in a different time and setting, we returned to Alabama (Maycomb) for this groundbreaking performance where skilled, young performers told the story of Scout and Atticus Finch.
Scholars should be asked in their own words to describe what it felt like to be that up close and personal with social injustice and the courage it took to sit in the midst, and fight against it with the quite, quite believable actors, whom they were able to “hang out with” after the play.
During the talkback session, our scholars were able to ask the cast questions. I witnessed the courage and engagement of learning take place as more than one scholar raised their hands and received amazing feedback for their questions.
More than garnering knowledge about a famous novel, the scholars watched grit and honor come to life as Atticus stood up for the character of a man, rather than look out for his own self-interest. If we dare to teach this virtue to young people, we should provide as many opportunities as possible for seeing it in action. This production of To Kill a Mockingbird did just that! Although the lens was different, the same message resonated: Dream when everyone else says, “No.”
Poetry Recitations and Creative Bible Illustration
Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou are teachers whose wise words about Hope and Grit will transcend into the lives of every individual no matter the complexity of his or her time and society.
When the smart elegance of their words are spoken from the mouths of middle school scholars, what beauty and delight! What renewed desire to dream and never give up!
Scholars showed their prowess for reciting poems from these great poets by breathing life into the words and realizing that hope, faith, and love is the language of us all.
When 8th and 9th grade girls in Bible participated in the illustrative story about protecting their dreams which are both expandable and vulnerable, they were challenged to think deeply about the amount of effort and courage it takes to see them take flight.
They were encouraged to write their dreams down and make them plain, as the Bible encourages, and then they held onto them in the form of pink balloons for the rest of the day. It was both sweet and inspiring as they learned that dreams come in all sizes, and they are almost always the products of what we put into them.
This celebration of Black History Month, though perhaps atypical and unique for the masses, served such a holistic purpose for our scholars. Martin Luther King Jr., Atticus Finch, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou have taught them this month about loving others and believing in one’s dreams.
The subject is not so different than what we strive to do as teachers each day, but absolutely, this month was educational, intimate and purposeful.
Please see how the One School Dream Month also impacted the younger grades with the Dream Project video.