By Stephanie Markowitz
Volume 68, Issue III
Thursday, January 11, was the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly, put together entirely by the Student Coalition for Human Dignity. The Student Coalition for Human Dignity, a BHS club open to all, works on this event from the beginning of the year until the assembly date, typically the week before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The assembly aimed to highlight the lives and achievements of “up-standers,” people who fight against injustices they see being committed and stand up for what they believe in. It especially celebrates the life of MLK himself, whose historic struggles to obtain racial equality in the United States embody everything that the Coalition, as well as MLK day itself, stands for. This year’s assembly featured several exceptional and moving performances, including the Gay Straight Alliance’s presentation of Harvey Milk’s “Hope” Speech, a slideshow from the Stand Together Against Racism Club (STAR), performances by the band and the chorus, and a piece from the hit musical Dear Evan Hansen, “You Will Be Found,” performed by Bellaworthy (A combination of BHS’s two acapella groups, Bellatones and Noteworthy). It also included a performance from the Jazz Band, as well as a dance by freshman Julia Lucarelli to the song “Loving” from the 2016 movie Loving.
This year’s assembly carries even more weight. Ms. Cotnoir, the driving force behind this annual event and a upstander for equality everywhere, is retiring from BHS this June. Cotnoir, a social studies teacher, yet again poured countless hours of energy into making sure the event ran smoothly. Knowing this year was Cotnoir’s last leading the Coalition, the club went to great lengths to make this event an outstanding one. At the end of the assembly, Principal Debora French gave a short speech to thank Ms. Cotnoir for another wonderful assembly and for her years of dedication to the school and its causes. Student Coalition for Human Dignity President Derian Dominguez then presented Cotnoir with
a bouquet of flowers and a hug to mark her final assembly.
“I think the purpose of this day is to reflect on our past and to think about how our past can empower us to build a better future,” Cotnoir said in a pre-assembly interview. These words of wisdom resonated with both the performers and audiences, and it’s safe to say the Student Coalition successfully kicked off Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend by celebrating Dr. King’s message: equality, justice, and love.