Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
    Posted on 02/14/2019
    A student receives a high-five while walking through a line of adults

    Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Madrona Elementary Celebrates Schools’ Rich Black History

    On the morning of Feb. 8, the Madrona Elementary community gathered in observance of Black Lives Matter at School week to celebrate the rich black history of the school and community, and inspire students to revel in their brilliance.

    The schedule of events began with coffee and snacks for the community in the cafeteria, leading into a star-studded assembly in the Madrona gymnasium. The theme for the year’s High Five event was “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” and throughout the assembly, many former and current black students of Madrona shared their memories and words of wisdom alongside their community members.

    The emcee for the morning, Madrona mentor and president of community partner Unleash the Brilliance, Terrell Dorsey, warmed up the crowd of students, parents, and community members to prepare them for the program ahead.

    Speaker Jorrell Dorsey, son of Terrell Dorsey and Madrona Youth Leader shared his belief in the students of Madrona, “You all have potential, you are all valid, and you all have a voice.”

    Speaker Von Perkins attended Madrona 57 years ago and recounted his fond memories of his days at the school. He told students about his experiences interacting with the volunteers of Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther, learning life skills of swimming and playing chess, and trekking down to Madrona Beach to apply science learning to real world application.

    Fourth grader Jett Evans spoke to his peers about the importance of a great education and remaining steadfast in ones’ studies. His words of wisdom for the younger students received a standing ovation from the crowd, “If you see any bad behavior, stay away from it. You don’t want to do it.”

    To conclude the morning’s events, a high-five tunnel was built in the gym comprised of the adults in the room with their “paws up,” gathered together as tightly as possible to welcome students to school. Students faces beamed as they smiled and laughed their way through the human tunnel.

    As they prepared themselves for the rest of their school day, students were overheard exclaiming, “‘That was awesome! ‘I wish we had that every day!’”

    The goal of the Madrona High Five event was to highlight and honor black students and families, and all Madrona families were welcome to attend and participate.

    A group of event attendees and speakers pose for a photo under a banner that says Black Lives Matter at Madrona Elementary

    Pictured in bottom photo (left to right): Von Perkins (speaker and former Madrona student), his grandchildren Elle Ahmadi (Madrona kindergartner) and Miles Ahmadi (Madrona 3rd grader), and his daughter Crystal Perkins (PTSA community outreach co-chair and High Five Planning Committee member); Divina Lawley (speaker and mother to three former Madrona students, grandmother of current Madrona kindergartner Rayniyah Lawley (not pictured) and aunt to 2nd grader D’Anglea Carter (not pictured); Peighton Pearson (Madrona 4th grader) ; Jett Evans (speaker, Madrona 4th grader); Terrell Dorsey (emcee, president of Unleash the Brilliance, and Madrona mentor) and his son Jorrell Dorsey (speaker, Unleash the Brilliance staff member, and Madrona Youth Leader).

    Read more about Black History Month and the achievements and contributions of several Seattle community members.