Fairfield students promote Black History Month education through artwork

FAIRFIELD — Students at a Fairfield school wanted to make a strong visual statement in their support of the importance of Black History month and their work now shows throughout their school.

Fairfield Creekside Middle School students, led by the school’s Student Diversity Alliance, have decorated the school’s main lobby, halls and classroom spaces with a wide variety of Black History Month and diversity appreciation-themed art created by themselves and classmates.

“It was important to the students that their celebrations be very visual,” said Cassandra Delaney, assistant principal at Creekside. “They wanted to walk into Creekside and see Black History Month being honored and through their work, they accomplished that goal.”

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In the front lobby a display of student-made quilts can be seen that celebrate and honor African-American leaders. There are also quilts displayed throughout the school.

School officials said the quilts were created during advisory, a time when smaller groups meet with a teacher periodically to build relationships, school culture, and other activities. Students selected, researched, and wrote about different leaders, then combined their work into one project.

Creekside administrators also encouraged students to participate in an “I Have a Dream” activity to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Students were asked to share their dreams for the future and for Creekside, Delaney said. The activity was completed by all 1,200 Creekside students.

“The future is bright through the eyes of our students,” Delaney said. We are proud of the work the SDA has done so far and look forward to what they will do in the future.”

As a Jordanian student, 7th grader Farrah Mousa said having a support system in school is a good thing “because sometimes it’s hard being different. Knowing that there is a diversity group reassures me that we are all equal.”

Analys Martinez, also in 7th grade, said student alliance is helping build cultural awareness.

“We all have our backgrounds and we deserve a voice. As a Dominican, I understand the race issues students could face,” she said. “And as a Student Diversity Alliance member, everyone has their own issues and it feels good to have people understand us.”

Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for the 10,000-student district, said the student-generated artwork commemorating Black History Month reflect the district’s long history of emphasizing diversity.

“The alliance at Creekside aligns with the goals outlined in our Diversity Plan. The plan has been adjusted a few times in its 10-plus years of existence to meet the changing times,” said Gentry-Fletcher.

“We are reaching out to our students more because they are living this work and there is a great deal of value in their feedback. It is exciting to see the creativity in their activities and the supportive culture they promote.”

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