As a Mercy school, we are committed to fighting racism and celebrating people of color throughout the entire school year. We also honor and recognize the importance of placing an additional focus on African Americans during February’s Black History Month. This year, science and art were included in the programming in addition to lessons in social studies, language arts, and of course, religion.
Students of all ages created artwork influenced and inspired by Black creators. Preschool students looked at photos of the quilts of Gee’s Bend before making their own interpretations with strips of paper. In seventh and eighth grade, students researched, listened to, and drew portraits of African American jazz musicians. Our halls were adorned with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. “This project allowed them to understand, appreciate and connect with the origins of the music they enjoy today,” explained art teacher Patty Papatheodore.
In science, students in seventh and eighth grade researched and presented information about Black scientists who were influential in the fields they were covering in class.
Other highlights of the month included:
Morning prayer announcements highlighting Black saints; short history lessons in Community Gathering about influential African Americans in Philadelphia history.
Virtual Community Gathering centering around local African American history.
Our youngest students (preschool, pre-k, and Montessori) reading picture books about Black history, including the recently published book, The ABC's of Black History.
Fourth grade learning about the tenets of Catholic (and Mercy) social justice linked with their social studies curriculum on the Civil Rights Movement
Eighth grade homerooms finding and adding inspiring quotes from African Americans to their homeroom doors.
Kindergarten students presenting inspirational Black Americans to their classmates.
Third grade reading stories about Ruby Bridges and George Washington Carver.
Sixth graders chosing influential African American politicians, athletes, performers, authors, artists, and/or activists to research and present to the class as a way to practice research, listening, and discussion skills.
Preschool making quilt squares inspired by the Quilts of Gee's Bend.