Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. “Love your neighbor as yourself.
A consistent message on Lower Campus is around celebrating our own unique identities while learning to accept others for theirs. Recently in Preschool chapel, in recognition of Black History Month, PK4 teacher Mavi Kier shared her Nigerian heritage with students through storytelling and song. Preparing for her chapel message, she knew that she wanted to share something traditional and ethnic, celebrating and showcasing the richness of African American heritage. When she saw the verse about love that was scheduled for the week – shown above – she knew exactly what she could share.
Dressed in a gele – a traditional Nigerian headdress – and an iro – a long wrap skirt – both made out of Nigerian silk, she spoke at chapel as a griot, or storyteller, sharing a version of the Nigerian folktale, “The Tortoise, the Leopard, and the Bush Rat.”
When she was young, Mavi remembers singing a song called “Children of God” at night with her family, and she knew she wanted to incorporate that into her message. She added a few of her own parts to the story and took a few parts out, but the overall message was that the tortoise loved God and openly praised him, sharing his love with others by walking down the road each day singing “Children of God” and inviting the animals around him to join in.
Wanting to get her own students involved, she taught them the song “Be Exalted” by the Watoto Children’s Choir and they helped her lead the song not only at Preschool chapel, but at Lower School chapel, too. Singing and dancing alongside the music video for the song, the Mount Vernon learners were so excited to see other kids their own age, singing and dancing just like them and talking to the same God, but on an entirely different continent.
“I really wanted that experience to be part of chapel,” Mavi shared. “The visual of our kids here singing and dancing to the same song that those kids were dancing to drives home the message that there is so much that unites us.”
This is Mavi’s third year as a Mustang. She came to Georgia 20 years ago, and to date has lived on three different continents. She first came to Atlanta to work with at-risk youth in the city’s government housing and fell in love with the city.
Outside of work, she loves all things art – singing, dancing, visual art, etc. – and enjoys Sukudo and jigsaw puzzles (the more pieces the better!). She also serves as a praise and worship leader at her church.