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AUSD Celebrates Creativity, Art, and Culture

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) students and staff are involved in more noteworthy and exciting pursuits than we can possibly list in one column. Our schools are truly brimming with engaging achievements and projects. Here are highlights from just a few of them.

Alameda Post - calligraphy art
See Hakim Karimzada’s “Dance of Words” showcase at Rhythmix Cultural Works. Photo Rhythmix website.

Dance of Words

First, we are delighted to announce that Hakim Karimzada, an English language learner at the Alameda Adult School, has an exhibit, “Dance of Words,” at Rhythmix Cultural Works. Karimzada is a master calligrapher from Afghanistan whose work blends modern and traditional styles to create exquisite works of art that reflect the culture, art, and language of his native country. Sometimes focusing on a letter, or a word, or a series of words as in a poem, his colorful paintings reflect a variety of traditional scripts, as well as one he invented on his own. The “Dance of Words” exhibit has been extended through March 2. The artist will be hosting gallery hours from 12 – 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; stop by and meet him in person.

Poetry Out Loud

We would also like to congratulate ASTI 10th grader Roan Byrne Sarno, whose recitations of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” by Julia Ward Howe and “To the Oppressors” by Pauli Murray won second place at the Alameda County level of the “Poetry Out Loud” contest. A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry by selecting, memorizing, and reciting classic and contemporary poems. Roan won ASTI’s competition in November and then advanced to the county level.

Alameda Post - a graphic of a little bird carrying a valentine

Valentines Post Offices

Third grade students at Bay Farm School and Paden Elementary School get a shout out for putting on Valentines Post Offices in February at their respective schools. During the event, which combines a Valentine’s Day celebration with hands-on learning, students write and process hundreds of Valentines through a simulated postal system that includes a beautiful mailbox, regional and branch POs, streets, and classroom mailboxes. Students apply for and then play the roles of Postmaster General, systems designers, stampers, regional and branch mail sorters, and letter carriers.

In addition to the joy of delivering Valentines, students get to practice writing—each wrote 30 messages—address letters, exercise social-emotional skills by listing positive traits of each recipient, and develop career skills by submitting applications to each Post Office job.

Lift Your Voice

Finally, AUSD’s Department of Equity held a Black History Month event earlier this month that featured a host of noteworthy speakers and performances. The theme was “Lift Your Voice,” and the headliners included author Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, author of the highly acclaimed picture book Blue; rapper MC Kai; author Vielka Lisa Montout; spoken word artist Jaylondon; poet and educator Kayatta Patton; activist, author, and educator Tyson Amir; and breakdancing group The Oakland Originalz. Video and photos of this very celebratory event are available on the Office of Equity web page.

We always welcome news of innovative projects and noteworthy achievements from our students, staff, and families. Please contact me at [email protected] if you have something to share.

Susan Davis is the Senior Manager of Community Affairs for the Alameda Unified School District. Reach her at [email protected].

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