Black History Month is a time to celebrate and pay homage to the historical figures of the past who have paved the way for Black Americans and contributed to the development of our country as a whole.
Although people may think of the days of old when they hear the word “history,” we at Calvary Christian Academy recognize that Black History is relevant to the here and now as well. It’s being written, as we speak, by authors of all ages who represent a myriad of cultural backgrounds — backgrounds that have made the CCA student body beautifully diverse and a mirror of God’s Kingdom.
“I truly believe that if we are going to be Disciples of Christ, we must embrace this diversity to bring more souls to Him.”
To bring awareness to the rich diversity within the Black community, we invited a few students to share what they love about their culture and how it has impacted their life. Our prayer is that their stories would break down any barriers of misunderstanding, build bridges of unity, and point you closer to the One we are all made in the image and likeness of.
Without further ado, meet Jonathan, Halle, Declan, Samara, Brandon, Aaliyah, Christopher, and James Adler!
Jonathan Anthony, 7th Grade
Represents: The United States, West Indies, and Cameroon
“I am blessed to be a part of a family that celebrates our heritage through yearly family reunions. Every labor day weekend, we visit a different part of the United States to enjoy fun times of food and fellowship with our family.
. . . take advantage of every opportunity to connect with family and to express my gratitude for all of God's blessings.
During this time, multiple generations of close and extended family members join together to reflect on our past, thank God for the present, and look forward to our future. This practice always reminds me to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with family and to express my gratitude for all of God's blessings.”
Halle Jordan, 3rd Grade
Represents: The United States and Trinidad & Tobago
“My mom taught me how to take care of myself and the things around me. Like folding clothes and cooking. At lunch time, my classmates get to see the yummy things my mom cooks. Things like curry goat, callaloo, and macaroni pie. They would always say it smells so good. I really like Trinidadian food and the accent.
My classmates get to see the yummy things my mom cooks.
My dad taught me about sports and how to play them well. Both my parents taught me discipline, respect, and how to have manners. My mom and dad's accents are totally different.”
Declan Deroux, 12th Grade
Represents: Jamaica and England
“One of my favorite parts about having Jamaican roots is the fact that I can experience the good food that comes from the culture. More importantly, I enjoy the virtue of kindness that is reflected in each person that is instilled in each generation.
There are so many different people and cultures represented
Going to a school with a culturally diverse student body does away with discrimination and racial bound cliques because there are so many different people and cultures represented with their given traits and personalities that you want to branch out and meet new people."
Samara Rawls, 9th Grade
Represents: The United States (Southern Region) and West Africa
“One of my fondest memories that connects me to my culture is that our family celebrates Kwanzaa annually. Kwanzaa is a holiday celebration where African Americans celebrate the importance of unity, creativity, faith, and gift giving. We normally go to friend's house and celebrate Kwanzaa where we read about the holiday, light candles, dress in African attire, and enjoy African inspired dishes.
. . . my ancestors have instilled in me to never give up, no matter what the circumstance may be.
My cultural background has shaped me by teaching me to persevere through difficult times in my life. African American people have had to overcome centuries of injustices from being enslaved, unfair segregated practices, and even social justice issues of today. I know I can work through challenges because my ancestors have instilled in me to never give up, no matter what the circumstance may be.”
Brandon Bent, 8th Grade
Represents: The United States and Jamaica
“A big part of my culture is family, faith and community . . . almost all Jamaicans went to church every Sunday and having that instilled in me helped with my spiritual journey.
Going to a culturally diverse school gives me an opportunity to learn about other cultures and puts us in a position to spread our faith further.”
Aaliyah Fenelon, 7th Grade
Represents: The United States, Canada, and Haiti
“My cultural background has shaped me in a way that inspires me to love and accept all people. My values are to stand strong for what I believe in, work hard to be the best I can regardless of the challenges I face and to never give up. To be genuine, open minded, never to judge and to place value on what really matters; faith, family and being true to myself.
We gain so much by learning about others and their different cultures.
Going to school with a culturally diverse study body is extremely important, as it exposes us to different ideas and experiences. There have been times when a topic of discussion in class includes one of my cultures where I am able to share information my teachers or classmates may not be as familiar with. Also, there have been several times in which I was able to share my experiences with others and them with me. We gain so much by learning about others and their different cultures.”
Christopher Bogelin, 10th Grade
James Adler Germinal, 9th Grade
International Students from Haiti
“Being from Haiti has taught me to be grateful for what I have and to never forget where I come from. I’ve had the opportunity to share my culture with 3rd and 8th graders from CCA.” –Christopher
“My cultural background makes me want to be more mature so I can stay out of trouble as much as possible.” –James Adler
*Both of these students are nationally ranked tennis players in Haiti and are proud to represent their country through this sport.
Last school year, CCA High School students participated in a Chapel series titled “More Than A Label,” and in one of the teachings led by our Discipleship Director Steve Mayo, he shared how labels are oftentimes incomplete and inaccurate characterizations of people.
As evidenced by the eight students featured above, being Black is not a one-size-fits-all experience that means the same thing to each person. Rather, it involves different customs, values, interests, traditions, and upbringings that ought to be shared, heard, and esteemed within the body of Christ.
Ninth grader Samara Rawls said it best: “Diversity in looks, thoughts, ideas, food, and entertainment are what make a successful community, place of work, and school. I truly believe that if we are going to be Disciples of Christ, we must embrace this diversity to bring more souls to Him.”