Students spark change in Black History Month celebrations


Jay Deegan

Juniors Chizzy Akubue, Brooklyn Hinton and Lily Robinson (left to right) practice filming the HawkTV announcement for Feb. 21 during a Black and Latino Association meeting on Feb. 17. At the meeting, the entire group also finalized the Black History Month dress up days and worked on their plans for the business expo that takes place on Feb 24 during lunch hours.

Claire Yung, Online Managing Editor

Naperville Central students formed the Black History Month Planning Committee and planned Black History Month celebrations this school year after voicing their concerns about the lack of recognition from the school. 

Susan Macikas, campus supervisor and Dynasty sponsor, reached out to students in October 2022 to form the committee. 

“I wanted the students to see that if they spoke up to the right people they would get their support,” Macikas said. “They had full support from the principal from day one. And I think that was one of the most important things that could have happened.”

Then Macikas, along with Seth Brady and Mike Wilson, social studies teachers and co-sponsors of the Black and Latino Association (BLA), worked with students to plan the month’s activities.

“We wanted this group to be student-led,” Macikas said. “So basically we were just supporting them and their ideas, and advising them on how to make it happen.”

The process has helped highlight areas where Central could improve.

“It does open your eyes as to how much as a community we can still grow as it pertains to discussions about inclusion and equality,” Wilson said. “There really are some serious gaps in Naperville in something as simple as celebrating Black culture and Black history.”

Senior Mia Hernandez, president of BLA, is a member of the Black History Month planning committee.

“It’s been difficult to get everyone’s ideas together, then make sure the ideas are solid and everyone agrees,” Hernandez said. “We also had to make sure that the school would be appreciative of our ideas and our input. It’s been fun to be able to be part of something that has never been done before and it’s been interesting to see how that has gone and the different obstacles we have had to face.”

Members of the Black History Month planning committee put together the announcements, hallways slides, hallway music, a fanny pack Friday, spirit week and a Black-owned business expo during lunch periods.

“I hope students are more educated from the events,” Hernandez said. “That they know more about Black History Month and about Black history in general and they learn to appreciate it better than they have in the past. In the future, I would hope more people get involved so they can have their voices heard at school because it’s important that everyone at our school is represented accurately.”