The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Maly Westray uses her voice to celebrate Black History Month

In the beginning of the school year, there was an opportunity to say the morning announcements and become the voice of Jackson-Reed. At first, I was hesitant, but eventually I felt compelled to try and earn the position because I wanted to spread more love and light in the school. 

I competed and made the finals—the only junior to do so. On the same day that I did my campaign on the intercom, I got elected to officially become the voice of JR. Although my voice is primarily used for making school announcements, I have realized I can use it for so much more. 

February marks the month-long celebration of Black history. There is so much to Black history that should be spoken about. God has given me the opportunity to have a platform in the largest DCPS school, and with that I should use it not only to spread love and light, but also to educate. 

Black history is American history, a fact that is especially important at a place like Jackson-Reed. Historically a predominantly white school, Jackson-Reed is now home to a diverse community from all over the city. 

“We have children coming from all parts of DC by special permission through DCPS,” said Assistant of Strategy and Logistics Cynthia McFarlin. I personally know her as the woman who sometimes gives me Black History facts to share. 

“[Jackson-Reed is] one of the most sought-after high schools for black people… the teachers here provide a better quality of education.” One aspect of that education is the warm welcoming environment that I try to establish as the voice of Jackson-Reed. 

For every day in February, I have mentioned a Black history fact to enlighten our community about some of the many reasons that we celebrate Black History Month. Around the school, there are visuals that embrace Black history, such as posters in the halls, a TV presentation in the matrium, and, at lunch time, activities and music that exude Black culture. 

Sophomore Reid Sessoms said, “it’s good for people to have resources to educate themselves about Black history.” 

It’s amazing how our school celebrates and spreads awareness on Black history. Just because February 29 will put an end to this month’s festivities, we can still do more to further educate people about Black history. It’s something that should be more recognized. Black history is American history. Black history is world history.

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