Holy Cross School second through fourth grade classes on the primary campus have been learning, creating, and experiencing remarkable things this Black History Month!
In Social Studies, students have learned about the lives and stories of Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Harriet Tubman. Students not only completed book studies and held important discussions on these famous heroes, but they also had the unique opportunity to listen to and discuss these topics with important black members of our very own Holy Cross community! We were honored to welcome Dr. Lionel Branch, Judge Charlene Larche-Mason, and Reverend Richardson to speak with our boys about their own successes and to share insight on their lives as influential black members of society.
Dr. Lionel Branch, grandfather of Noah Price (2nd grade), is a diplomate of the American Academy of Neurology, director for the Primary Stroke Care Center, and was listed in “Best Doctor New Orleans” in August of 2019. Dr. Branch visited our second grade class and after reading a book about Dr. Vivian Thomas, a black medical pioneer, he discussed his own accomplishments in his medical career with the class. Having just studied Rosa Parks and the realities of segregation, the second grade boys were eager to ask questions and learn more about Dr. Branch’s life, schooling, and career during a time of segregation.
Judge Charlene Larche-Mason, mother of Carter Mason (4th grade), recently made history when she was elected as the first female to preside over Division C of the Municipal and Traffic Court of New Orleans in July of 2020. Judge Larche-Mason visited our third grade class, who had been learning about Ruby Bridges, to discuss the influence and importance of not only black, but female historical figures. Judge Larche-Mason read a book about yet another historical black female, Rosa Parks, and held an intriguing discussion with the class about her career and success as a black woman.
Dr. Johnathan C. Richardson, father of Julian and Silas (4th grade) and Solomon (7th grade), is the Senior Pastor and Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana and is a book author and writer of numerous essays dealing with topics ranging from social ethics to social justice. Dr. Richardson visited our fourth grade class to discuss Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his influence on Dr. Richardson’s life, teachings, and career. After reading a book to the class, Dr. Richardson opened the floor to questions and a thoughtful discussion about his life, values, and work.
Lower school black history studies didn’t stop there! In Art, students learned about and created art projects on Charles Henry Turner, an early pioneer in the field of insect behavior, and Gee’s Bend, a small, secluded, black community in Alabama known for their handmade quilts. In Spanish, students read bilingual books on famous black figures from the Caribbean like singer, Celia Cruz and baseball player, David Ortiz. In Music, students talked about famous New Orleans musicians like Louis Armstrong, Trombone Shorty and Fats Domino. Students also learned about the Harlem Renaissance, poet, Langston Hughes, piano prodigy, Nina Simons, and watched and discussed music videos for songs about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman.
Throughout the book studies, art projects, group discussions and guest speakers, the boys continually impressed us with their ability to mindfully discuss difficult topics in our history and display such understanding and empathy. Throughout our teachings, especially those in honor of Black History Month, our goal is to promote and instill compassion, understanding, respect, and love for all of God’s children. Like Father Basil Moreau said, “Education is the art of helping young people to completeness; for the Christian, this means education is helping a young person to be more like Christ, the model of all Christians.”