The power of music was evident Friday morning at a Delaware Academy middle- and high-school assembly organized by a seventh-grader at the school, several involved said.
Students in grades 6-12 attended the “Harmony for Humanity” assembly that grew out of a project Jasper Millhone, 12, did last year, school Superintendent Jason Thomson said.
On Friday, it was “incredible” to have the students come together on topics such as peace and human rights.
“It was so important,” he said.
“It was a huge success,” Jasper said. He has been planning the event since June. It had its beginnings last year, when as part of the sixth grade project which allows students to work on anything they want, he thought it would be interesting to imagine a world without hate. He was inspired by a video he saw from the Anti-Defamation League.
In researching someone who died because of hate, journalist Daniel Pearl, Jasper started conversing with Pearl’s father, Judea. Jasper found that Pearl’s family celebrated his birthday with music, which was the inspiration for Friday’s concert. Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by Pakistani militants in 2002 while writing about al-Qaida for the Wall Street Journal.
“I thought it would be interesting to start a concert at Delhi,” he said.
After discussing the idea with superintendent, principal and others “they were thrilled,” he said. It included messages for the event from Judea and Ruth Pearl, Yoko Ono, even President Barack Obama, as well as singing and a performance from the band of “Firework.”
“I felt I made a difference,” Jasper said.
Thomson said one of the final songs involved all those in the auditorium singing a chorus of “Lean on Me.” It was “a powerful moment,” he said. He praised Jasper for his articulateness and his passion for the subject, as well as all those involved who contributed. They included the sixth-grade team, which has been encouraging students for years to pursue their interests, he said. He also praised seventh-grade teachers Jennifer Stanton and Jessica Sobers for their guidance.
“It went very well,” Sobers said. She was impressed by how many students participated in songs like “Imagine.”
“Music is the thing that brings people together,” she said. “I think it will be one of the things that students talk about for a long time.”