Fisher and Nazareth Students Collaborate for “Day of Service”
On Friday, January 20, 40 students from St. John Fisher College and Nazareth College collaborated on a Day of Service to culminate a week of local celebrations honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy.
Both campuses hosted dozens of students from Rochester’s East and Monroe High Schools for a day of learning about King’s life, and a glimpse of life on a college campus – a first for many.
The event kicked off with a presentation by Associate Professor Dr. Arlette Miller Smith. She reenacted a time when she saw King speak in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and played the parts of her parents, herself, the crowd, and King himself. She also recited a poem, and lead the group in a song called “Rosa Sat,” about the historic day when the heroic Rosa Parks fought back and refused to get off the bus she was riding.
The high school students were then led by a team of Fisher and Nazareth students on a campus tour, which included a scavenger hunt with facts about King’s life at each stop.
According to Sally Vaughan, Director of Community Service, the goal of the event was two-fold: to share Martin Luther King’s life story, and to send the strong message that he was a scholar, a leader, and a community organizer and that they, too, could emulate him.
The students also participated in a group reflection and discussion about what similarities they share with King. They talked about what their dreams were, what they do now to make a difference in their own communities, and shared ideas about what else they could be doing to give back.
Fisher students Jessica Pulver and Lindsey Kocher were co-chairs of the event.
Pulver said the most rewarding part of the day were the connections the Fisher and Nazareth group leaders were able to make with the students.
“Overall, this was an amazing experience and I hope to be part of it again next year. It really makes your day realizing you made a small difference in just one young student's life,” she added. “At the beginning of the day, we had a few students saying it was pointless because they were not going to go to college. But, by the end of the day, they couldn't wait to become a college student, at Fisher or elsewhere.”
Kocher added, “Kids have to have the chance to figure out what they want to do, and how they can give back to the community as well. We had the knowledge to share with them, but they were really the ones that took the event to heart. I have never seen kids so excited to be on a campus before. It was clear that they pictured themselves here in the future.”
Joe Smith, Allison Brunner, Egzon Beha, Jessica Monroe, Keanna Cathey, and Emily Witty served as group co-leaders with Nazareth students.
Dr. Arlette Miller Smith recites poetry to students.
The event included a short video presentation about Dr. King's life.
Students join in song with Dr. Miller Smith.
One of the groups getting ready for the scavenger hunt through campus.