La Salle Kicks Off Black History Month With School-Wide Assembly

Lillian Paugh, Editor

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  • “The purpose of the assembly was to shed light on African Americans, both in our community and outside of our community, that have done anything courageous or any acts of courage,” senior and assembly organizer Allie Ball said.

  • Students participated in “Black History Month Jeopardy,” ringing in their answers with buzzers.

  • Assembly leaders share extra facts about the historical figures included in the games played.

  • Community members race to name famous African American musical artists during the “Name That Name Game.”

  • “I hope that [students] take away the different aspects of what courage can look like and how you might look at somebody and not see them as courageous,” Ball said. “That anybody can have courage and to know that it’s okay to stand up and speak out and speak your truth.”

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Students and staff gathered in the gym this morning to honor the beginning of Black History Month with an assembly led by members of the leadership class, inviting the community to learn about important figures in African American history through trivia and games.

“We thought it was really important to have the beginning of February start as a community versus doing something in homerooms,” Director of Equity and Inclusion Ms. Kiah Johnson Mounsey said.

Working alongside Director of Community and Student Leadership teacher Ms. Adriana Noesi, Ms. Mounsey helped students in the Leadership class’s committee coordinate the event, create the slideshow shown, and check the accuracy of the content shared.

Organizers decided on the theme of “courage” for the assembly — and tried to center each activity around that idea — from their visit to Central Catholic High School, where they traveled to get ideas for the assembly from Central Catholic’s own equivalent of La Salle’s Leadership class.

“This year, we really wanted to uplift folks in the Black and African American community in a way that was really celebratory and did it in a way that was also interactive,” Ms. Mounsey said.

Assembly leaders also helped guide students through informative Black History Month-themed activities, such as “Black History Month Jeopardy” and “Name That Name Game,” in which students and teachers tested their knowledge for cupcakes, while also learning about African American achievements in history.

Senior Olivia Serio, who was also instrumental in planning and executing the assembly, said that, while the assembly involved fun games and entertainment, “it’s still important to talk about topics surrounding injustice.”

Senior Allie Ball, who played a significant role in composing and leading the assembly, said that the team in charge of organizing it was focused on creating an event more engaging for students than those from previous years, while also providing educational value.

“[These events are] important to shed light and help others in your community be more aware of injustices that people outside of yourself are facing, and it’s also just a good way to get the school involved,” Ball said.

Also different from last year, the assembly honoring Black History Month was led primarily by the new Leadership class, rather than La Salle’s Black Student Union (BSU). This was a purposeful choice that Ball said the organizers made to “shift the focus of clubs feeling like they have to put on big events like assemblies to having Leadership help and take that role, and [the affinity clubs] can be intermixed within it.” So, while not directly arranged by the BSU, Ball said that the group was there in support of the assembly, with a few of its members also speaking and leading activities.

For the remainder of February, the Leadership class and the staff involved plan to hold other various events around campus to honor Black history, such as a Black History Month exhibit in the La Salle Center, inviting slam poet S.C. Says to perform and speak to students and highlighting Black students at La Salle with displays of their work or pictures of them around the school.