Celebrating Black History Month
Using lessons, activities, displays and conversations, Ravenscroft’s three divisions celebrated February’s Black History Month in fun and engaging ways. Here’s a snapshot of the month.
Lower School: Connecting Inspirational Black Leaders to Lead From Here
In the Lower School, eye-catching bulletin boards created by teachers provided a visible reminder to students and faculty that there is much about African American history to celebrate. One display, inspired by a Google video shared by PreK teacher Crystal Garris, celebrates the many noteworthy accomplishments of African Americans as reflected in Google searches; and another one, created by PreK teacher Lana Dubose, connects Lead From Here competencies to inspirational quotes from famous African Americans. Members of the Lower School community were encouraged to place their names on a sticky note next to quotes that resonated with them.
“We realize that what we do our school should help to prepare students to be successful in the diverse world that we live in. Celebrating and highlighting the contributions and talents of African Americans helps build an emotional bridge for students to feel accepted and included,” Dubose, who leads the division’s Diversity and Inclusivity Committee with third-grade teacher Danté Johnson, said. “Additionally, it allows students to get to learn more about individuals from different cultures and to see them in a positive way.”
Older Lower School students have researched various civil rights leaders and done presentations to share their findings with classmates.
“This activity allowed students to focus on the triumph and successes of African Americans throughout our nation’s history despite the challenges they have faced,” Johnson explained. “Holistically, this project has also enlarged our students’ awareness of who they are and what they can become, regardless of their race or gender.”
Middle School: A Shared Story, Diverse Activities
Middle School launches their efforts to honor the struggles and achievements of African Americans on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in January. Understanding the impact of this dynamic leader as one who was visionary and strategic moves our students past the awareness of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
In February, efforts continue throughout Black History Month. Students viewed a video, “Black Inventors of the 20th and 21st Centuries,” during Community Time, and bulletin boards honoring African Americans are posted in the Commons and the sixth-grade hallway. As well, posters with significant events in African American history and African American contributors to American History are featured around the building.
Grade levels engaged in fun activities and discussions, including a scavenger hunt for advisory groups to encourage them to explore the content on the displays.
Upper School: Affinity Groups Take the Lead in Raising Awareness
To mark Black History Month in the Upper School, members of Nubian Queens and My Brother’s Keeper — Upper School affinity groups whose members identify as African, black or African American — made posters for the doors of the English, History and Social Studies, and Science department suites to honor prominent African, black or African Americans in each department’s field. For example, the poster on the English suite door honors author and poet Toni Morrison.
“Black History Month is the month in which we take pride in the African Americans that have greatly contributed to our society. Whether through inventions that have changed the course of society, literature of personal experiences with the black struggle, or advocating for equal rights, this month is designated to honor their achievements,” Jairus Cook ’22, who is a grade-level representative for My Brother’s Keeper, said. “In addition, Black History Month is also the month in which black culture and blackness itself is most celebrated. From curly and coily hair and the amazing hairstyles, to all the various music genres of black culture such as rap, RnB, and hip hop, to even delicious soul food born out of struggle, Black History Month is the time where African Americans can feel empowered through celebrating black culture in its month of recognition.”
My Brother’s Keeper co-president Charles Cook ’21 added, “I would like for classes to take a few minutes every day to share a few Black History facts, outside of Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, slavery and the Civil War.”
Thanks to these student leaders for their work on the posters: Maia Hughey ’20, Arica Scott ’20, Chandler Beasley ’20 and Kirstin Debrah ’20 of Nubian Queens; and Charles Cook ’21, Jairus Cook ’22 and Ik Ekpunobi ’21 of My Brother’s Keeper. Enjoy Maia Hughey ’20’s slideshow on Black Cinema, which she presented at a recent Upper School morning meeting!
Shelley Torres serves as the faculty sponsor for Nubian Queens, and Matt Thomas and Kalista Richardson are the faculty sponsors for My Brother’s Keeper. The three also head the Upper School’s Diversity and Inclusivity Committee.