The lights in the Livingston gymnasium are low. The stage curtain is still drawn. A hush falls over the crowd of 400 students as the sound of their peers’ voices come booming through the sound system. This is Livingston Collegiate’s annual Black Excellence program.
Livingston is just one of Collegiate’s schools that is celebrating Black History Month by showcasing students’ interests, talents, and heritage. Collegiate sees Black History programming as just one important component of building student identity, particularly given that 91% of the students we serve identify as Black or African American.
At Livingston, students 9-12 gathered in the gym to take in a fashion show celebrating Black heritage, styled and modeled by Livingston students and teachers. After the models left the runway, a cast of 20 student performers launched into a play celebrating black heritage and culture.
On Valentine’s Day, Rosenwald Collegiate Academy hosted the Show Yo’ Love Showcase with a review of student performances featuring the inaugural appearance of the Rosenwald Choir singing “Lift Every Voice.” The show started with a dance performance by Kev’vinta Thorton (‘22) and Darryelle Evans (‘23). Each touching on the theme of the beauty of Blackness, Trinity Bertrand (‘23), Toriyan Jones (‘23), and Niya Jackson (‘22) all performed their original poems. Jazzmene Burks (‘23) followed these performances with her original essay “Growing Up Black.” Jayla “Chuckie” Charles (‘22) and Dominique Martin (‘22) brought the house down with their keyboard and vocal stylings. The showcase wrapped up with Jayden Davis (‘22) with his rap “Black Excellence.” Students and teachers alike used each music-break between acts as an opportunity for a cafeteria dance party.
G.W. Carver High School and Opportunities Academy both hosted door decorating contests and daily features of Black History facts in their morning announcements. Likewise, Carver’s student-led Black Excellence Luncheon and Panel was catered by their culinary students and offered a platform for students to perform original their spoken word poetry.
At Collegiate Baton Rouge, students opted to celebrate by dedicating their advisory/pod time to learning about Black History every Tuesday in February. These weekly convenings culminated in a student showcase on March 5th entitled Living Black 365 featuring music, poetry, and dance.
Abramson Sci Academy hosted a series of events including a pep-rally, a staff v. students basketball game, and a movie screening, all culminating in a Black Excellence Program scheduled for after their Mardi Gras break.
While these details only capture a fraction of all of the Black History celebrations at our schools this month, we want to offer a special thank you to all of the amazing students and staff who have organized this celebration of legacy, heritage, identity, and excellence!