Academy Singer Helps Celebrate Sheff

Academy Singer Helps Celebrate Sheff
Posted on 01/24/2019
Andrea Sims

A freshman from the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts recently performed at a party celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Sheff vs. O’Neil court case. In front of a crowded room at the Hartford Public Library, freshman vocal major Andrea Sims sang The Beatles “Blackbird.” Present in the audience was Elizabeth Horton Sheff, mother of the lead plaintiff Milo Sheff.

Sheff vs. O’Neil was a class action lawsuit in the state of Connecticut in 1989 which challenged segregation in the public school system. At the time, several students from Hartford were listed as plaintiffs. After an appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court, the state was ordered to desegregate the public school system. As a result, the number of magnet schools increased  and school choice options were expanded.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the case, the Sheff Movement Coalition approached Academy instructor Dianne Mower to see if a student could perform. She in turn put the offer out to several of her vocal students and Andrea Sims volunteered. They selected “Blackbird” because of its significance to the case. The Paul McCartney penned song speaks of the struggle people faced during the Civil Rights era in the United States and offers up hope of change. “All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.”

Andrea Sims is a half day student from New Britain. She attends the Academy as a vocal major.

Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter