More than a Month

by Shonda Keys, Director of Belonging

This week, we wrapped up our Black History Month celebration. From the Early Childhood Center to the Upper School, classrooms across campus studied how Black Americans have contributed and continue to contribute to American history, society, and culture. There are dozens of highlights from this month’s celebrations. In the ECC, our littlest Turkeys, under the direction of Mrs. Ellis, used music to celebrate the trials and triumphs of Black people in America. Lower School classes celebrated the accomplishments of Black women and men by studying mathematics and astronomy in 1st grade, learning about Olympians, explorers, and entertainers in 2nd grade, and beginning each day with an inspiring quote in 5th grade. These lessons allowed the girls to make meaningful connections to the past and celebrated Black Americans of the present.

Middle and Upper School students recognized the accomplishments of Black Americans in a myriad of ways. Throughout the month, the girls heard from unique Black voices like Chapel speaker Jasmine Bolton ’07. Mrs. Gillespie’s Upper School biology class hosted a virtual meeting with Dr. Pilar Snowden, an immunologist who serves as a medical science liaison for GlaxoSmithKline. The Black Student Association hosted a lively trivia game to spark conversation and teach their peers about influential Black Americans. Hoping to inspire current students, they also created a bulletin board display featuring notable Black alumnae. Middle and Upper School classes dove into literature, poems, historical texts relevant to the Black experience, including a French-language novel with a Black woman as its protagonist.

At St. Mary’s, the study of Black history is not confined to a single month. Across campus, teachers include positive portrayals of Black men and women in lessons throughout the year. The study of Afro-Latinas in Spanish class spans beyond February. In Ancient History class, Middle School students learn that Black history does not begin with slavery. Course offerings including Marginalized Voices in American Literature and The Power of Black Music in America are specifically designed to include Black voices in the Upper School curriculum. These courses have set the foundation for creating additional offerings that explore the Black experience in America. In Lower School, our girls celebrate and study the contributions of Black inventors and scientists throughout the school year.

Additionally, SMS librarians and counselors engage the girls with diverse voices from the past and the present. The voices of Black women and girls permeate the work done by these teams. Though the month has ended, the sentiment remains, Black history at St. Mary’s is more than a month.

  • All-School
  • Belonging
  • Early Childhood
  • Lower School
  • Middle School
  • Upper School

Additional Images