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    Pathfinder 8th Graders Realize Legacy Project Through Student Voice
    Posted on 06/22/2018
    Pathfinder mural painted by students with words Black Lives Matter

    Pathfinder 8th Graders Realize Legacy Project Through Student Voice

    In the spring of 2018, eighth-grade students at Pathfinder K-8 raised concerns about a a piece of art in their building that they felt hindered truly welcoming environments for all students. The mural in their school hallway, documenting the early history of the United States, alarmed students who noticed an image of a ship sailing on open waters, filled with representations of enslaved Africans being brought to America.

    With the guidance of eighth-grade teacher Ami Pendley and Seattle University graduate intern Maria Abdullahi, the students leapt into action to make a lasting change to their school environment. After conferring with school administration, the young scholars voted unanimously that the theme of their end of year service project would be to modernize the mural in their school building with the focus of “Black Excellence.”

    Over the course of a couple of weeks, in alignment with the requirements for their service project, students investigated the extensive history of the transatlantic slave trade and its reverberations in modern society. Subsequently, they researched influential African-Americans throughout history, assigned various categories (science, technology, media and entertainment, sports, etc.) to ensure balance and requested each of their peers to contribute at least one leader to the mural.

    On Juneteenth, June 19, the American holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition slavery in the United States, eighth graders invited Pathfinder K-8 staff and community members to the unveiling of the culmination of their hard work.

    Students reflected on their process and spoke to their reasoning behind selecting such influential figures as Rosa Parks, Colin Kaepernick, Barack Obama and Malcolm X. The young scholars elaborated in their reflections on the value of their peers’ diversity in background and skill set in developing their vision into a common goal.

    Looking toward their future transition to high school, the eighth-grade students remarked on the positive impact their mural would leave on the Pathfinder K-8 community after their exit from the school. They expressed their hope that the Black Lives Matter mural would instill community pride, encourage students to use their voice to create action and ensure a welcoming environment for all scholars.

    The student mural creation at Pathfinder K-8 exemplifies Seattle Public Schools commitment to assuring welcoming learning environments that support the identity safety of every student.

    Read more about our work to ensure educational excellence for all students and eliminate opportunity gaps.

    Read more about Pathfinder K-8.

    Students and staff pose for a photo with the new mural