LYNNFIELD — Summer Street School and Huckleberry Hill School students joined hundreds of thousands of students across the United States by taking part in the national Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day on Nov. 14.
The event recognizes Nov. 14, 1960, when 6-year-old first-grader Ruby Bridges integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lynnfield students read “I Am Ruby Bridges” and discussed the book in class to participate in the day.
Ruby was not looking to make history; she and her family wanted her to have access to an education where she could learn in a safe environment. Her courageous action initiated the desegregation of New Orleans Public Schools. Sixty-three years later, Ruby’s vision is for future generations of leaders to end racism and all forms of bullying, one step at a time.
“We are thrilled to participate in this meaningful day,” and appreciate the support we have from our educators and community members who volunteered to participate by reading ‘I Am Ruby Bridges’ to number of classrooms at both elementary schools,” said Superintendent Kristen Vogel.
Vogel, Principal Karen Cronin, Elementary Math/Science Director Christina Perry, School Committeeman Jamie Hayman and his wife, Senior Manager of Government Affairs at AAA Northeast Christina Hayman, read “I am Ruby Bridges” to Summer Street School students.
School Committee member Kate DePrizio, Educational Technology Director Stephanie Hoban, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Kevin Cyr and Substance Use Prevention Coordinator Peg Sallade read the book to Huckleberry Hill School students.
In 2018, AAA School Safety Patrollers from Martin Elementary School in South San Francisco, California learned about Civil Rights icon Ruby Bridges, and her brave walk to school as she became one of the first Black children to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans. With a simple question from one student – “Why isn’t there a day for Ruby?” – Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day was born. These young leaders founded Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day, with the vision of building a nationwide movement and starting a day of dialogue. The event continues to grow. In 2023, over 1,000 schools and more than 500,000 participants walked, read, and learned in recognition of Ruby’s historic steps.
“We take pride in the fact that a fifth grade AAA School Safety Patrol student recognized the importance of Civil Rights and took a leadership role in her community,” said Christina Hayman. “Students need the opportunity to make tangible connections to social justice and taking part in the Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day offers educators an opportunity to connect lessons to civic engagement. Ruby Bridges is an ideal role model and example of the courage required for social change.”
The other local schools that participated in the Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day were J.W. Killam Elementary School in Reading; the Woodville, Dolbeare and Greenwood elementary schools in Wakefield; and Lafayette School in Everett.