Students and staff celebrate Black History Month


Sarah Craft

The library’s display, which contains books by African-American authors, is one of the ways the school is celebrating Black History Month.

Clover Hill celebrates Black History Month around the building through dedicated projects and lessons that highlight current and past black creators. These projects are both academic and creative, aiming to educate the students on different aspects of African American culture and to make a more diverse learning environment.

During Feb., the library is decorated with images and books relating to black culture along with hosting activities surrounding books relating to black history. The window panes and shelves of the library are decorated by librarian Kathryn Bogdanowicz, and the displays focus on nonfiction books about unknown black history and recent fiction books about African American culture written by black authors. 

Librarian Heidi Williams discusses how the library interacts with classes through activities surrounding Black History Month.

“Ms. Brown brought her African American History class to the library to see the book displays and check some books out,” Williams said. “While they were there, Mrs. Capuano taught a quick lesson on Book Spine Poetry and the students were able to create their own poems using our books.”

The library’s book club Books & Bites also prioritize diversity in their monthly meetings by making sure to include a wide selection of books focusing on different heritages and people all year long. While their theme for Feb. is soulmates, they made sure to include one about social justice earlier in the year. 

 “The theme of our Books & Bite meeting from November was Social Justice which featured the following topics: race and ethnicity, religion, ability, class, immigration, gender and sexual identity, bullying and bias, [and] rights and activism,” Williams said.

Art classes are also finding creative ways to feature black creators in Feb. Art teacher Rachel Principe has all of her classes researching modern-day black artists and creating notes pages in their sketchbooks.

“My honors students, after researching an artist they find interesting, are creating a piece of artwork inspired by the ideas or the aesthetics of that artist,” Principe said. 

The project was originally created by graphic design teacher Jamie Barnett, which Principe adopted into her classes. She has her students do a project of some type celebrating Black History Month during Feb. every year, whether it be ventured around research or trivia. 

Principe also believes that it is important to not only focus on diversity during Feb., but incorporate it all throughout the year. 

“It is important that students can see themselves reflected in the artists we study, and we have a diverse group of students here on the Hill,” Principe said. 

English classes have also stressed the importance of diversity in their curriculum. English teacher Dan Waidelich introduces diverse texts into his classroom and teaches his students about the contributions that black authors have made to literature. 

“There’s no one way to be a Black writer, but when I think of some of my favorite writers like James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, or Gil Scott-Heron, they were doing amazing work with bringing a rhythm, or a kind of heartbeat, to the written word that wasn’t always there before,” Waidelich said. 

While Waidelich makes sure to include a broad scope of authors and stories of different backgrounds all year, he also has dedicated a project and lesson for Black History Month. 

“This month my students work on a research project where they learn about a Black author of their choice,” Waidelich said. “We’re also going to study Amanda Gorman, our National Youth Poet Laureate, who made a big impression on the literary world after reading her work at President Biden’s inauguration last year.”

Even though Feb. is designated as Black History Month, Clover Hill has tried to reflect diversity all year round in their classes. Teachers around the building acknowledge the importance of educating their students on different backgrounds and histories and to see the progressions of society.

“It’s… a great way to learn about the story of America in general, where we came from and where we’re going,” Waidelich said.