Return to Headlines

Clark Montessori and Hughes STEM Assemble for Black History

While the customary elements of bands, signs and cheerleaders added vibrancy to the assemblies at Hughes STEM High School and Clark Montessori High School, their significance transcended spectacle as these gatherings served a vital purpose in honoring the enduring legacy of African Americans while confronting the uncomfortable truths that shaped history. 

At Clark, the assembly focused on the theme of "Black Excellence," offering a vibrant showcase of the contributions made by African Americans to society. From groundbreaking inventions to significant cultural achievements, students were immersed in a celebration of black culture and innovation through engaging presentations, musical performances and poetry readings.

Mar'Koya Walker-Jones, advisor for Clark’s Black Student Union (BSU) and an alumna of the school, played a pivotal role in organizing the assembly. Drawing from her own experiences, she sought to engage students by integrating fun learning experiences, such as trivia about Black history, into the event.

Student holding sign saying "Reality Hard Work" “This is my first time being an advisor,” said Walker-Jones. “I've always been on the other end as a very active student, so it has been trial and error, but it has been a rewarding trial and error.”

A highlight of the assembly was the participation of the Divine Nine, historically black Greek-letter organizations, whose representatives not only showcased step routines but also emphasized the importance of pursuing higher education.

Meanwhile, at Hughes, Celietta Beamon, IT Career-Tech teacher at Hughes, orchestrated the assembly with a focus on honoring the past while empowering the future. With a diverse student population reflecting the richness of America, both schools recognized the significance of providing opportunities for enrichment and empowerment that has often been overlooked by many. 

For Beamon, the assembly was not merely a tribute but a platform for nurturing talent and inspiring excellence. Over the years, the assembly has evolved from a student project to a school-wide endeavor, providing students with a chance to step out of their shells and showcase their talents.

Beamon stressed the importance of recognizing and celebrating African American contributions, particularly in a society where negative stereotypes and systemic biases still persist.

“There are all these negative connotations that are now systemic, carrying through generation to generation, and it takes an open dialogue especially with students for us all to really understand,” said Beamon.

These assemblies serve as powerful demonstrations of Black excellence, empowering our students across the district.

Students Leading the Black National Anthem at Hughes