MAC scholars wrap up Black History Month


Art by Jennifer Stanley

Afsah Khan

Art by Jennifer Stanley
As students settled down to eat lunch Feb. 8, the Minority Achievement Committee (MAC) Scholars gathered in the main commons to hold the Arts and Music festival. In celebration of Black History Month, members performed for their peers in an effort to spread awareness of African-American culture, with a special focus on Black Muslim culture, according to senior Jacqueline Byas, a MAC Scholar who helped organize the event. Byas said she is happy with how the event turned out and believes it was a big accomplishment for the group.
“I was really excited about the … Arts and Music festival, because this is the first thing that we actually all worked together on to try to accomplish, and for me it turned out as a success,” Byas said. “I performed; I did a poem about Malcolm X that I had written in my African American experience class.”
MAC Scholars lined up several other events for February, which is nationally recognized as Black History Month. A luncheon catered by members of MAC Scholars took place Feb. 14 for school faculty, as did a historical dress-up day.
MAC Scholars sponsor Joe Collier said the luncheon was a “way of giving back and educating” the faculty. Byas, too, said the luncheon was an opportunity to promote African-American culture.
“Another thing we are planning on doing is for the [faculty],” Byas said. “We’re going to have a Soul Food Luncheon for the staff where MAC Scholars members will bring a dish or anything … to just give them a little taste of our culture, our food.”
MAC Scholars will perform during the Courtwarming assembly later in February, to further promote African-American culture and the meaning of Black History Month and to continue the festivities throughout the month.
“I think we have a couple other things [scheduled] … during our assembly, but we’ve got to nail down what we’ve got going on,” Collier said. “I know that the Chamber Choir is doing … a prayer in Swahili, and we have a couple of our students that are going to sing the … black national anthem. So that’s what we have planned so far.”
Along with reaching the public through performances and involvement in the assembly, Collier said a movie night took place Feb. 16 in the RBHS gymnasium, for anyone who wished to attend. The featured movie, “Freedom Writers”, was chosen to correspond with the underlying theme of empowerment.
Collier hopes the movie night will become an annual tradition, since the event is planned to provide entertainment with an educational twist.
“[It was] open to the public … it’s free to get in, but we [sold] popcorn and pizza, because everyone likes to eat when they’re watching a movie,” Collier said. “We hope … we’ll keep it going if it’s something everybody likes to see or do. We can keep it going every year, but we just try to keep it fun … and educational.”
Reflecting on the events scheduled for Black History Month this year, Byas believes MAC Scholars has done a better job being involved than they have in previous years. She said the leadership was more organized this year, which helped the process go smoothly.
“I feel like we were better this year,” Byas said. “My sophomore year, we had a good leadership, and then my junior year, which was last year, the people who ran it kind of left, and they left without a plan, and so last year we were just thrown out there, so we really didn’t know what to do, and then this year, we tried to pick it back up and tried to start up again.”
Collier agreed with Byas, saying MAC Scholars was more dedicated in promoting Black History Month at RBHS than in previous years, and the events helped spread awareness and knowledge of African-American culture to the other students at RBHS successfully.
“People said we needed to be involved,” Collier said. “In the past, our involvement as MAC Scholars in educating and doing Black History Month was more … involved, then it kind of laxed … for three years, I would say, and … the students wanted more involvement, so we thought we would make more of an effort this year, to make sure we did something for Black History Month.”
By Afsah Khan