Convocation 2020 Welcomes Teachers & Staff to New School Year

Convocation 2020 Welcomes Teachers & Staff to New School Year

Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez (pictured above on location at the new Martin Luther King Jr. Campus) kicked off the 2020-21 School Year for teachers, staff, and community partners with the help of speaker and author Dr. Maysa Akbar, Mayor Luke Bronin, Hartford Board of Education Chair Ayesha Clarke, Hartford Federation of Teachers President Carol Gale, the Hartford 2020 Teacher of the Year Shakira Perez, Calling All Brothers, and some amazingly talented Hartford Public Schools Students with a unique, virtual Convocation event in two sessions.

The E.B. Kennelly School Premier Drumline

Students from the E.B Kennelly School Premier Drumline, under the direction of Michael Pontecorvo, launched the morning program with an uplifting drumming performance. Students included Kimberly Perez-Gomez, Ny’aisha Ida Benford, Mia Attiannas Khan, Manuela Valencia, Christian Anotonio Espinal, Kyanna Clarke, Jomelis Bruno, Angel Jiminian, and Ashley Diaz-Gomez.

After a welcoming video from community partners, Calling All Brothers, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by Rawson School Robotics/National Society of Black Engineers students, Sammiayah Thompson, grade 5, and Nehemiah Thompson, grade 4. A beautiful rendition of our national anthem was performed by students from Great Path Academy, Keyanna Gibson, Emer Paulin, Alana Peterson, Carmella Mitchell, led by Music Teacher Steven Wolf.

7th Grade Student Speaker, Fajr

12th Grade Student Speaker, Cesar

Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez presented and then introduced two student speakers who helped define the program’s theme, “Highlighting Who We Serve: What the last 6 Months Have Meant to Our Students and their Aspirations.”  Fajr Waheed, in Grade 7 at Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker, and Cesar Carreno, in Grade 12 at Bulkeley High School both delivered moving speeches about their recent experiences.  Teacher of the Year 2020 Shakira Perez delivered a positive and funny Charge to the Teachers called, “I’m a Teacher; What’s your Superpower?”

A videotaped performance of the 3rd Grade Chorale from Noah Webster Microsociety Magnet School (recorded on March 6,) led by Music Teacher Abigail Sutcliffe, wrapped up the morning program with a song, “One Nation,” about unity.

The afternoon program was a powerful Keynote Presentation by Dr. Maysa Akbar, a New Haven-based thought leader and expert in racial trauma, allyship, diversity, equity, and inclusion; the author of Urban Trauma, A Legacy of Racism and Beyond Ally: The Pursuit of Racial Justice.


You may watch our Convocation 2020 videos below.


Keynote Presentation for Convocation 2020: Dr. Maysa Akbar


Our Morning Session, September 2, 2020, 8:00 AM

See the event program here.