My view: Black History Month is not celebrated correctly

Anne Muawad '20, Page Editor

For the past three years  I have been at South, every time February rolls around I find myself sitting in math class being given the same speech, the same assignment and,  often times, the same person to research as a way of celebrating Black History Month.

To me, this seems like a sad and pathetic way of celebrating something so important. Teachers give out research assignments on famous, historical African Americans as homework, and that’s how students treat it: something that needs to be done so you can cross it off in your planner or get the extra five points to pad your grade.

However, the lack of enthusiasm and voluntary involvement from students is actually to be expected. Every year that I have been at South I have been told to research Dorothy Vaughan, a famous African American who made major contributions to NASA. Every year I come into class and hear the same five facts told that students pulled from the first Wikipedia biography pulled up or recite the plot of a movie that was based on this person’s life. For example, the well-known movie, “Hidden Figures” stars Vaughan, and for the past three years I have been able to wow teachers with my recitation of the plot summary while not having to have done any research at all.

Teacher’s use the same assignment every year: research “insert name” and bring back three facts about them to share with the class. In my opinion, this is not how South should be honoring this month and it’s sad that more steps have not been taken to ensure a more beneficial and effective learning experience for students.

Moving forth I would like to see a shift in the attitude South has towards how they celebrate Black History Month. I want to see students excited about honoring these historic accomplishments, I want to see classes having engaging and meaningful conversation that doesn’t like a paragraph copy and pasted off Wikipedia and I want to see South do a better job at ensuring this month is celebrated correctly.