Opening The Door To Black History

Centennial students and teachers have gotten competitive around the building in a fun door decorating contest to honor Black History Month.

The competition was set up by Julia Bakhru, a GT research teacher at Centennial High School. “The idea is for all of us to come together as a school to celebrate the impact of Americans and our history, and I think Black History Month is a great opportunity, not only to celebrate that community but also to get everyone invested in being a community … like as a school community and celebrating a larger community, I think that’s a beautiful thing,” Bakhru explained.

Linda Norris, a Centennial High School media specialist, explained the purpose of the door decorating competition and what it means for our Centennial community. “I feel like it is to promote that we’re all different and to recognize African Americans during Black History Month. I feel like it’s important for our Centennial students to feel accepted and that the contributions of people that are like them are phenomenal.” She hopes that the door decorating becomes a tradition, and even plans to continue decorating her door to honor different things throughout the year, including for women’s history month.

This year, Ravi Bahkru, social studies teacher, and Emily Warner, reading teacher, tied for second in the competition. The winner of this year’s door decorating competition was Tricia Moody, special services teacher and Lisa Robinson, paraeducator. Moody explained the inspiration for their door; “I wanted to highlight the black staff members that were in our building. We are few in number but we are powerful members of the Centennial community. I also wanted to highlight those that lost their lives to brutality, and that’s why both sides of the door are the teachers of those that lost their lives for Black Lives Matter,” she continued. “Under that, you will see that it is separated by a red band, and those are those people that are alive and have gone on, that have paved the way and have paved the way for us, to make us who we are as educators and as staff members at Centennial and we are paving the way for other African American and minority students at Centennial High.”

As Black History Month is celebrated, it is important to know the significance of it. Black History Month started in February of 1915, half a century after the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States. Black History Month honors black achievements and contributions to U.S history. February was chosen to host Black History Month because the month coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas, who both contributed greatly in helping African-Americans gain rights. 

Since 1976, Black History Month has had a specific theme. The theme of Black History Month in 2020 was ‘African Americans and the vote,’ focusing on the struggle of black men and women for their right to vote. 2021’s theme was ‘The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.’ This year, in 2022, the theme is ‘Black Health and Wellness’ acknowledging the contributions made by medical practitioners and other forms of medical knowledge across the African Diaspora.

 “Our community is strongest when we include all of the voices and all of the history and that Centennial is excellent because of our past, present and what that can mean for our future. I want to make sure we’re celebrating some really great accomplishments that I think paved the way for where we are now,” Bakhru stated.


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