February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration of Black people’s achievements in American history. Several students worked to make the celebration visible throughout the school. SHOUT club read facts over the announcements, and senior Brayden Wisniewski created posters with Mrs. Hickman.
SHOUT, a social justice club, chose several black inventors to highlight for their announcements, as well as people with connections to the school. Mrs. Shumaker, one of the club sponsors, says that they chose to highlight Avonworth graduates “to try to provide real-life examples of Black excellence.”
Dr. George, the other club sponsor, also helped the club to make a poster of tools and machines invented by Black people, many of which people use on a daily basis before they even leave their homes. She was glad that it had a positive impact on Black staff and students within the school, mentioning that “Mrs. Wingfield really appreciated it […] and […] was glad we highlighted it.”
Although the club did make an effort to highlight Black History Month, vice-president Sadie Walsh says the club “probably could’ve done more in general.” However, she notes that they “were also in the thick of preparing for 8th-Grade conversations, a really big project […] so what we did with the time that we had was good.”
Senior Brayden Wisniewski created posters along with Mrs. Hickman. They were, according to Mrs. Hickman, “initially going to hang them up in the library, but they seemed to need more attention, so Brayden put them up in the cafeteria.” She also acknowledged the month within the library, putting up a small display of “books either written by or featuring African-American or black protagonists.”
Mrs. Hickman mentions that “it’s hard to do anything big, especially with everything [construction in the library] in such a flux” but says that they “still tried to do something, but just scale it back.”
Although the celebrations of the month were small, they were still noticed and appreciated. Sophomore Gbemi Odebode especially liked the announcements, since everyone would hear them in the morning: “Normally predominantly white schools don’t do Black History Month well, so I thought it [the announcement] was a good way to force people to acknowledge it.”