CSDNB Students Shine at MLK Day Celebrations

(New Britain, CT) – Several CSDNB students shined at events throughout New Britain in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 20, with presentations, speeches, and performances reflecting on the teachings and work of the great Civil Rights leader.

Students representing New Britain High School, HALS Academy, and Smalley Elementary shared their talents with the community during the City Of New Britain’s Commemoration “Unifying Through Community Engagement”, presented by Mayor Erin E. Stewart & The New Britain Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

Genesis Brown, a junior at New Britain High School, opened the program at Smalley Elementary with stirring renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She also later sang “Fly Me to the Moon” and “What a Wonderful World” – delighting the crowd with her powerful voice, accompanied by Slade Middle School music teacher Mr. Ryan Kowalczyk.

Miguel Pagan, a NBHS sophomore, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the program, introducing dignitaries and students who participated.

HALS Academy students participated in a school-wide essay contest answering the question, “How has Dr. King and other African American leaders inspired you to achieve your dreams?” Students selected for the top 10 essay submissions were recognized. The seven honorable mention students received a certificate for their essays, while the top three selections delivered their speech to the audience.

Honorable mention selections included: Zacharie Charles Boisrond, Olivia DuPont, Yasser Alselmi, Jakub Sek, Filip Jarzab, Isha Islam, and Ayden Zayas.

Analise Jones and Jacqueline Pena delivered their third and second place speeches respectively before the Keynote Address was delivered by Dr. Jackie Evans-Phillips, Founder of Life Changers Institute. Adam Sahab delivered his first-place essay towards the end of the program.

Smalley students Maria Pacheco, 3rd grade, and Jack Grillo-Morales, 5th grade and Student Council Co-President, represented the host school for the event with readings by Dr. King.

Photo credits to David Huck

Later in the afternoon, Jazzlyn McGee, a 4th grade student at Jefferson Elementary, read her winning essay and presented her poster at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Citywide Celebration “Moving Forward Together 2020.” The annual event took place at Spottswood AME Zion Church and was hosted by the Mary McLeod Bethune Club in partnership with the New Britain Chapter of the NAACP. There she met Senator Chris Murphy and the guest speaker, Basil Niccolls Jr., a NBHS graduate and former intern of Senator Murphy.