Christ The King Jesuit College Preparatory School

Black History and Heritage Celebration

“Looking at the negative messages in the news these days, we felt a call to organize a Black History Month celebration that provided positive representations of African Americans for our students,” shared Temple Payne, Principal.

Responding to that call, Mrs. Payne and others took action and created six weeks of educational and community-building activities that celebrated African American history and culture. These activities would engage not just the students, but the whole school community.

Christ the King seeks to be more that just a college prep high school and a work study program for our students,
we are a school community that values social justice.
Our students are challenged daily to reflect and explore their identities, ask hard questions, and share their gifts. These and other opportunities reflect our mission of educating and supporting students so they can realize their God-given potential.

To set the tone, organizers chose “The New Black” as the theme for the celebration. “We rise above the stigma and stereotypes that are placed on us as African Americans,” shared Ravion ’17 when asked about the theme of the Black History Month activities. “Our theme,” she continued, “is a statement about re-creating what it means to be black in today’s society.”

This message was borne out in the various activities that were organized. Students had the opportunity to dialogue with African American professionals during a leadership luncheon, raise money for a local social service agency for single mothers, and partner with other Jesuit high school students in a day of service. Morning announcements included “This Day in Black History,” and winners of various contests visited the DuSable Museum. The capstone Talent Showcase featured the finals of our Heritage Bowl along with student performances, singing, dancing, and spoken word poetry followed by a community dinner.

George Boling, Dean of Students and chair of the Black History Month Committee, remarked, “We can’t control what goes on outside of our building, but inside we can create a life-affirming school community. I have been inspired by our community’s response to all of the activities. The excitement and engagement of our students made it a wonderful six weeks!”