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Martin Luther King III Visits LJCDS to Launch Say It Now

By Tiffany Truong, director of marketing and communications
LJCDS students are part of a gratitude movement with Say It Now and Martin Luther King III.
“Spread the word… We are going to be a great generation,” chanted Lower School students, reciting after Martin Luther King III during assembly. On February 23, students from La Jolla Country Day School, The Preuss School UC San Diego, and the Monarch School joined forces to participate in the Say It Now initiative—a movement to inspire 1 million expressions of gratitude. 

Founder of Say It Now Walter Green addressed the audience of “changemakers” and encouraged students to express gratitude for the people who have impacted their lives now, while they are here to appreciate it. “None of us are self-made,” he shared. “We have been shaped by the people who have been important in our lives.” 

The gathering was the first live event for Say It Now. From uplifting performances to heartfelt speeches and readings, the assembly was filled with inspiration and gratitude. 

In recognition of the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King III acknowledges that although racism still persists, there has been progress. 

King noted the importance of a strong foundation: “We must build our lives on a strong foundation… so in your life, develop your foundation and always retain a sense of gratitude… Be grateful to those who are there to assist you and always be willing to share that gratitude.” 

Students from Grades 4–12 from the Madrigals, concert choir and Black Student Union sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a powerful anthem of hope and resilience. 

Students courageously shared live expressions of gratitude. Jaden Mangini ’24 honored his brother, Chase ’18, who has been a constant source of support and encouragement in his life. Harper Goff ’28 expressed appreciation to her volleyball coach, who has always been in her corner, no matter what. Fabian Garcia, a student from Preuss, paid tribute to a school counselor who has served as a trusted adult who genuinely cares about students’ wellbeing. 

Mahlia Washington ’26 thanked her grandma. “Granny knows the hard times we’ve both endured, and I would go through it all over again as long as it’s with her… Granny has always told me that I am capable of so many things… You’ve shown me who I can become—a strong, intelligent, black young woman full of dreams and aspirations.”

“We are so appreciative of all our students who were involved to inspire gratitude and honor the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The day represented unity, positivity and gratitude. It was a proud moment for our school,” shares Jennifer Turner, director of the heads office and enrichment programs and co-organizer of the event, alongside Director of the Center for Excellence in Citizenship Jonathan Shulman and Middle School Counselor Tiffany Thompson. 

In honor of the event and Black History Month, the community was treated to a special lunch following the event to celebrate African American and Black culture. “We partnered with our BSU students as well as several scholars and experts to develop a thoughtful offering that included a variety of African cuisine from soul food to Creole to Caribbean to West and North Africa,” shares Mrs. Thompson. “Inspired by an event called Taste the Diaspora in Detroit, we wanted to celebrate Black culture by highlighting its rich culinary traditions and sharing the food’s history.” 

LJCDS students are agents of change, and the assembly promoting gratitude embodies the school’s core value of dignity. “I urge each of you, our future generation, to carry on the virtues and values of Dr. King’s work and his dream to become a more just and inclusive world,” said Colleen O’Boyle, assistant head of school for academic affairs, in her remarks. “This dream begins with your collective work, action and commitment.

Read more on sdnews.org.

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