Marist High School honored Black History Month with a variety of events and awareness initiatives throughout February, culminating in a trip to Holy Name Cathedral for the 38th Annual African American Heritage Prayer Service.
A student committee, with help from the school’s campus ministry and guidance department staff, created ways to educate the school community and celebrate the culture of students. Each Thursday in February there was a special soul food meal available in the cafeteria and the music of significant black artists throughout the decades was played. Educational materials regarding prominent black figures in the civil rights movement and in a variety of industries were displayed throughout the school, along with information about significant historical events in black history. The movie Lean on Me, starring Morgan Freeman, was also shown. It depicts the true story of Joe Clark who turned around a declining inner city school in New Jersey.
“It’s important for all students to know that their culture is recognized and valued,” said Patrick Ryan ’01, a guidance counselor at the school. “It’s a way for all students to learn and for us to grow as a school community. We look forward to growing this and other celebrations at Marist.”
The month was capped off by the trip to the Archdiocese’s prayer service, which included prayer, spoken word, liturgical dance, and music. Dozens of schools participated, each presenting a school banner on the altar. At the service, the Black Heritage Award was given to Mrs. Bobbie Hicks, the first African American teacher in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“It was a really nice day. I liked the dancers, and I hope we can incorporate some those things at masses at Marist,” sophomore Peyton Ashford said. “My mom went to this event when she was in school and had a good experience, so I wanted to go, too. I’m glad I did.”