At Mount Vernon, this celebration of Black history will acknowledge the African diaspora. While the February celebration is often centered on thinking specifically about the Black experience in the United States, we want to acknowledge that this culture is global based on the movement of Black people around the world. From food tastings, performances, and art showcases Mount Vernon is ensuring that this month is celebrated in meaningful and impactful ways. Chief IDEA Officer Stacey Lee explained, “Throughout the month, students are empowered with a number of opportunities to engage with Black history through programs and learning that highlight the power of relationship in the Black experience and celebrate the spirit of Black innovation which each day moves us toward a better world.”


On Lower Campus, students are participating in several activities that highlight African diaspora, including food tastings from Flik, the school’s food provider, visits from Josie Bailey, an African storyteller who will perform various African Folktales and Fables, and from other performing artists of color. Throughout the month, classrooms will work on a project called “Hall of Heroes” with Lower School IDEA Coordinator Constanza Pizano in which they will study 11 heroes that exemplify the Mount Vernon Mindsets (Solution Seeker, Communicator, Creative Thinker, Innovator, Ethical Decision-Maker, and Collaborator) throughout history, choose one they look up to, and create displays about why. The finished product will be showcased down the STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) hallway through the remainder of the year.


For the second year in a row, Upper Campus students and IDEA have collaborated with Lower Campus Head of Community & Culture and Lower Campus Director of IDEA Elisse Hayes to create a collection of read-alouds to celebrate Black History Month. These readings range from light-hearted stories to short biographies of Black inventors to inspire young learners. Hearing the voices and seeing faces of Upper Campus students for our youngest mustangs is a source of inspiration and a way for them to see themselves reflected in the community.

For the first two weeks of February, an installation called “Hope for Our Future” will be available to view on Upper Campus. Lower Campus students started this work of art in January by tying chosen fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) ribbons onto a wire peace sign. Through open participation from Upper Campus students, they will contribute to the display by recording a message of inspiration, hope, peace, or prosperity on the provided ribbons. After the first two weeks, the installation will be delivered back to Lower Campus where it will live at the Lower School front desk for the remainder of the year. This installation represents both campuses’ commitment to their written messages.


MVXperts will be visiting Upper Campus chapels to share stories that foster understanding and appreciation. Jeremy Abernathy, a practicing attorney and pastor will speak on the topic of Black History and Stan Pearson, a mindset coach will visit with a message that encourages us to dig deep into our values, the fruits of the spirit.

Upper School students are also participating in a student art showcase organized by Head Prefect Lyndsey Franklin, to celebrate the achievements of Black artists. Their work will be located in the Upper School during the week of February 13.

Mount Vernon School is celebrating Black History Month in a comprehensive and meaningful way. From Lower School food tastings and performances to Middle and Upper School guest speakers, student art shows, and collaborations between campuses the school is ensuring that students of all ages have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the contributions of Black people throughout history. To listen to any of our guest speakers during chapel, parents and grandparents are invited to attend all services throughout the year.

For more information about viewing art installations or art showcases contact the IDEA team:
Elisse Hayes, Lower Campus Head of Community & Culture; Lower Campus Director of IDEA
Dr. Chaundra Suddith, Upper Campus Director of IDEA
Stacey Lee, Chief of IDEA