Music, color shine light on diversity at Arnall
by W. Winston Skinner
Arnall Middle School held its annual Diversity Day program on Feb. 28 — with performances by the school’s chorus and individual students.
Several group presentations were also made. The keynote message was given by Sylvia Hooker, a former Coweta County educator who is now deputy superintendent of schools in Bibb County.
The chorus sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Life Every Voice and Sing” to open the program and “Roar” at the conclusion. Sixth grader Danny Lim played “Fur Elise” by Beethoven as a piano solo.
Seventh grader Jalen Friday sang “All of Me,” and eighth grader Carly Buttke sang, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Brady Taylor played several tunes on his bagpipes.
Jakim Belton, Tevyn Fudge and Travis Patrick presented a tribute to South African freedom leader Nelson Mandela.
There also was an “I Am Diversity” presentation by a group of students, and another, “We Are Just Like Crayons.” The Parade of Flags featured students holding flags of countries and bringing greetings in those country’s languages.
The Ugandan Thunder children’s choir from Africa shared music and dance. The choir has visited Arnall before. “We hope we keep doing this forever,” said Moses Kaweesa, a Harvard educated Ugandan who works with the children.
Eighth grader Robyn Clarke, who uses a walker for mobility, gave moving remarks, thanking her classmates for their friendship and support and reminding everyone she is much more than just “the girl with the walker.”
She said she is “a devoted Gator fan in a sea of Bulldogs” and “someone who takes joy in making my friends laugh and having fun.”
Clarke spoke of the uniqueness of each person. “Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You are who you are for a reason,” she said.
Seventh grader Maya Wright introduced Hooker. Eighth grader Naomi Laws and seventh grader Ethan Bryant were masters of ceremonies for the event.
Bryant said aspect of the program showed “how far this diverse nation has come.” Laws said America has “many cultures, many voices.”