CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
By Robin Vanderpool, Our Parish Times, March 2022 Edition
Like other school communities across America, Saint Peter’s students celebrated Black History Month in February. One specific activity included fourth and fifth graders in Ms. Morgan Duffy’s Social Studies classes researching and writing a report on notable African Americans. Each student was asked to investigate important dates and landmarks, childhood and adult milestones, and professional achievements for their assigned African American leader and write an accompanying report that summarized what they learned about the individual.
For example, fifth grader Shaw Vanderpool researched the life and accomplishments of John Lewis, a civil rights leader who served in Congress representing the state of Georgia for 17 terms until his death in 2020. When asked about the assignment, Shaw commented: “It was really interesting to learn about John Lewis’ dedication to public service, his friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his involvement in the March on Washington in 1963. I am glad that my classmates and I were able to learn more about African American leaders and Black History Month.”
David Duggan, a fourth grader, reported on Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. The significance of Jackie Robinson’s trailblazing career is highlighted by the fact that the number 42 has been retired across all MLB teams. David shared that he “really liked learning about Jackie Robinson, especially all of his personal and professional achievements such as serving in the military, winning the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955, and his commitment to civil rights.” Both Shaw and David noted that their assigned notable African Americans were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In reflecting on the assignment, Ms. Duffy commented, “During the month of February I try to share with my students the many ways that African Americans have significantly influenced our society. Many of our students know about certain individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris, but individuals like Arthur Ashe, Mae Jemison, Wilma Rudolph, and so many more also deserve the recognition and credit for transforming our society in such a positive way."