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Fort Erie Students Lead Initiative to Promote Black History Month Across Niagara Schools

Fort Erie Students Lead Initiative to Promote Black History Month Across Niagara Schools

A group of dedicated students from Greater Fort Erie Secondary School has spearheaded a remarkable initiative aimed at promoting the celebration of Black History Month across secondary schools in the Niagara region. Khalaila Watt, Audrey Akharoh, Korede Adesina, Anais Baxter, Taiya Farrugia, and Angel BoswellBlackwood have collaborated to create a comprehensive lesson kit designed to instill a deeper appreciation for Black excellence among students and educators alike.

The initiative stems from a recognition that, despite the presence of Black History Month in school calendars, the significance of this observance has not always been fully honored. In previous years, students lamented the lack of meaningful acknowledgment beyond superficial gestures. However, this year marks a notable departure from the past, as Greater Fort Erie Secondary School has embraced a more immersive approach to commemorating Black history.

Walking through the school’s hallways, one can observe a striking transformation. Flags, banners, and balloons adorn the interior, while morning announcements feature insights into Black history. From themed music playing over the speakers to culinary events in the cafeteria, the atmosphere is infused with a palpable sense of celebration and recognition.

Taiya Farrugia, a Grade 11 student at the school, reflects on the positive changes: “This Black History Month really challenged the schools and the teachers just to celebrate Black excellence throughout the whole month, and not just one day.”

The concerted efforts of students like Anais Baxter and Angel BoswellBlackwood have not gone unnoticed. Baxter highlights a shift in attitude, noting how students are now more respectful and appreciative of the spotlight on Black excellence. BoswellBlackwood emphasizes the importance of moving beyond mere acknowledgment of past struggles, advocating instead for a celebration of present achievements and resilience.

The impact of this initiative extends beyond the confines of Fort Erie, resonating across all secondary schools within the District School Board of Niagara. Pratima Burton, Student Achievement Leader for Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism, underscores the collaborative nature of the endeavor, emphasizing the vital role of student voices in effecting meaningful change.

Central to the initiative is the creation and distribution of Black History Month kits to secondary schools, each containing a curated selection of resources ranging from banners and posters to QR codes linking to educational materials. Audrey Akharoh, another Grade 11 student involved in the project, stresses the importance of representation in fostering a sense of empowerment among minority students.

As the initiative gains traction, students express their hopes for a lasting impact on school culture. With principals already sharing photos of students engaging with the kits, the momentum shows no signs of waning. Ultimately, these students envision a future where the celebration of Black excellence transcends the confines of a single month, permeating the fabric of education year-round.

Through their initiative, these students have not only sparked meaningful conversations but have also laid the groundwork for a more inclusive and equitable educational experience. As they continue to advocate for change, their efforts serve as a testament to the power of student-driven initiatives in shaping a more enlightened and empathetic society.



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