Special presentations, discussions, and lessons during Black History Month gave students a deeper insight into the rich history and culture of Black Americans. Celebrating the diverse perspectives and experiences that have shaped our society reinforced King’s values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging on a community and personal level.
“To me, being a part of a community that strives for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging means that everyone feels represented and accepted for who they are,” said Zuri Giddings ’26, a member of the Black Student Union. “It means being a part of a place where we can all celebrate the unique aspects of our identity.”
In Grade 1, students created posters highlighting Black the work of Black change-makers such as Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, and Jackie Robinson. During an assembly on Thursday, February 23, each had a chance to facts about their figure and how they effected change.
Following the students, Iddi Saaka, a native of Ghana, spoke about his culture sharing dances, songs, and stories. The dynamic performance was educational and inspirational. Adding to the presentation, Sakka invited students to join him in the front for a hands-on experience. Classmates cheered as their peers danced and played instruments. Saaka concluded by demonstrating how Ghanaians transport objects on their heads. Students marveled as he balanced increasingly large objects on his head, culminating with a six-foot table.
In the Middle School, Jen Guevara, Guidance Counselor and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Coordinator, constructed a project challenge to help raise awareness of Black History and give students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 an opportunity to engage with the topic in a meaningful and hands-on way.
For two weeks, students researched Black inventors and their inventions. Students used their findings in their advisory class to create a collaborative presentation highlighting these critical contributions to American culture. Guevara awarded points to the presentations based on accuracy, design, and identification of resistance as this year's Black History Month theme.
An advisory group from each grade earned a dress-down day for producing the most meaningful and engaging presentation. The winning work can be viewed on media screen loops in the middle school atrium and second floor.
In an email, Middle School Dean of Student Life Jeremy Bletterman wrote how impressed he and Guevara were with “the detailed information students provided not only about the inventors and the impact of their inventions, but also about the significance of Black History Month and why it is so important to shine a light on groups of people who have been historically oppressed and underappreciated.”
On Tuesday, February 7, upper school students enjoyed a presentation by Director of Marketing Lakeya Graves, who delivered an informative King Talk about the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), which is composed of nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities known as the Divine Nine.
The Black Student Union, formerly the Students of Color Affinity Group, shared their presentation “Black Excellence'' during the King Talk the following week. Club advisor, Grade 11 Dean, and English teacher Adam Boaz prefaced the talk by acknowledging the lack of notable Black figures highlighted in his childhood education.
“When I learned about history, I learned about all of these great figures who had played a role in the history and greatness of this country, and none of them looked like me,” he told the audience.
Boaz reinforced that Black history and American history are the same and that recognizing Black Americans’ accomplishments is vital for Black youth and essential for strengthening equality across America.
“It matters to everyone who cares about equality,” he said. “Especially in a time where lawmakers in parts of this country are actively passing legislation that would teach a history that leaves Black people out. “
Following Boaz’s remarks, students and Graves, who also serves as an advisor to the club, discussed 14 notable Black figures speaking to their accomplishments. Presenters made a note of how the artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and inventors featured inspired them. At the end of the presentation, the audience viewed “The Most Searched: A Celebration of Black History Makers,” an inspiring video created by Google on Black American achievements.