St. Joe’s annual Black History Program hits the stage


Nyla Johnson, Staff writer

Today Saint Joe held its annual Black History Month Program during D period at 9:15 a.m. The program has been a staple-event of St. Joe for over 6 years.

February is known as Black History Month and is an annual celebration of African Americans as well as their contributions to society. The month, for many, is about coming together to be proud of who they are and what they have achieved.

All students were welcome to be apart of the the black history month program no matter their race, ethnic background, or grade. It is really a place to learn and get to know each other.

The 2021 theme is Social Activism, and the concept is based around a college campus. A prospective student is on tour with the orientation leader as he tells her about the different activities that happen on campus as well as how they interweave into the overall culture of African Americans being that it is a HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and Universities).

Senior Leah Clark was the student director for the program this year as last year she assisted the former student director. Clark says, “I was able to have a brainstorm session with [drama teacher] Mr.Upendo… He along with [biology teacher] Mrs. Ashby and [chemistry teacher] Mr. Walker have been a tremendous help with getting everything together.”

The message that students set out to spread was one to educate those who are not aware of the everyday struggles of black people in this country. They wanted to honor those who came before as well as those who will carry on the legacy and how others can become allies. The participants for this year’s Black History Program are proud that they were able to get everything together despite facing setbacks due to extreme weather and COVID-19.

To many this year, Black History Month has taken on a bigger meaning due to events that happened in 2020. Eight grader Kirsten Cornelius said, “I feel like this year, February has made me want to learn more about my culture, and why are we still getting treated like we do.”

As another way of celebrating Black History Month on campus, a black history fact was read every morning during the announcements. All students appreciated efforts like these as they opened their eyes to parts of history that they may not have been familiar with.

“Listening everyday during the announcements and learning about things that African Americans succeeded [in] was very empowering,” said eighth grader Bailee Alexander. “It gave me [the] determination to fight for what I think is right and stand up [against] what I think is wrong.”

While this year’s program had to be pre-recorded and premiered in classrooms due to COVID-19, many students still felt that the event made them feel appreciated and are excited for it next year.