UNION, NJ – Students at Battle Hill Elementary School displayed their passion, intensity and zeal when tasked with recording an excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech

Students submitted electronic entries of their excerpts. According to school counselor Michael DuBose, submissions were grounded using a speech rubric, which evaluated four domains: expression, pace, eye contact with the camera, and tone.

Though many entries were submitted, said DuBose, only three student winners could be selected. Battle Hill School’s first-place winner was Sophia C.  Taking second place was Gianna J. and the third-place winner was Maya I.  On February 26, Sophia C.’s rendition was showcased at the school’s Black History Assembly entitled African American Contributions to Society.

“As the school counselor,” said DuBose, “I recall my humble beginnings as a classroom instructor, and when academic expectations are increased, students will work to reach such expectations. I, like the Battle Hill family, are proud of our students and their talents.”  DuBose said distance learning has challenged educators to implement innovative approaches to engage students, and Battle Hill School students have stepped up to the bat. “Gratitude is expressed to our students, teachers, and parents for making the I Have a Dream: Student Recital a success during its first implementation year, as well as, virtually,” added DuBose.

The premise of King’s 1963 speech symbolizes American courage, a pathway in the direction towards society’s appreciation and acceptance of diversity, and most essentially, a vehement outcry to balance social injustices.