To the Editor:
On behalf of the fifth- and sixth-grade classes of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, I would like to thank The Yard for offering an African dance class to our students during the month of February. Collaborating with Jesse Keller to connect my curriculum around Africa to dance was an exciting and innovative experience. One of the visions of the founders of our school was to connect classrooms to the community. Thank you so much to The Yard for helping to connect my classroom to the world.
More important than my words about this project are the words of the children who participated. I want to share some of thoughts that they shared with me about working with Godfrey Mulwulya to learn the dances from Uganda that he so patiently and joyfully taught them.
“I never realized how fun African dance was going to be!” said Ellie.
“You have made social studies a lot more fun! I am in love with the performing arts, and this experience has made me love them even more,” said Sophia.
“The African dance gave me an insight into the culture and lifestyle of Uganda. You helped me understand the ways schools, dances, and communities are in Uganda,” said Hardy.
“Thank you for taking your time and teaching us African dance. I felt like a bird flying across Africa and stopping in Uganda,” said Josie.
“You made social studies erupt with rhythm and song!” said Elijah.
“When Amy said we were going to start dancing, I was a little scared. I’d never danced before. However, when you came in and said, ‘We will have a good time,’ I believed you,” said Summer.
“Every time I danced, I could picture you, my classmates, and myself in Uganda,” said Ava
“You have brought Africa into our classroom by teaching us your amazing dances. The enthusiasm you had was contagious, as you made hard work extremely fun,” said Mikey.
That is only a partial list, but now you have a sense of how much this program has impacted the children. As a teacher, I have seldom seen my students so engaged. They flung themselves wholeheartedly into the dances, and they hung on every word Godfrey had to share with them. Working with Godfrey, Jesse, and Holly Jones has been a pleasure. Thank you again for making this opportunity possible.
Amy H. Reece