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CELEBRATING UNITY AND DIVERSITY

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WC faculty and students celebrate diversity in many ways in the month of February

Worthington Christian School teacher Barbara Ashley recently started her class by displaying a picture of American historian Carter G. Woodson with the phrase “Be an advocate like Carter” beneath it. This launched her students into an exploration of the life and work of Woodson, including a group reading of the picture book biography entitled Carter Reads the Newspaper. The students discussed the word advocate and what it means to be an advocate. They then read Proverbs 31:8-9 to see how God commands His people to advocate for others, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” It was in reaction to hearing and reading these verses that one of Ashley’s students exclaimed, “Man, I wish I knew this verse a few years ago.” The best part is—Ashley teaches second grade.

This month, WC faculty, administration, and students are engaging in activities similar to Ashley’s young pupils. Across every grade level and discipline, students are learning, honoring, and celebrating the stories and significant impact of people of color in our society. 

In each Lower School art class this month, art teachers Jessica Heath and Christy Kline are guiding the Kindergarten through sixth-grade students in studying the beautiful work of African-American artists such as Alma Thomas, Aminah Robinson, and Clementine Hunter. Students will also try their hand at creating their own artwork inspired by the styles of the artists. 

In addition to reading many biographies, WC’s third and fourth-grade classrooms are collaborating in a joint project to create two black history quilts. Third-grade teacher Rachel Janssen explains, “Each square of the quilts will feature a different African American who has made an outstanding contribution to society.”

WC fifth-graders, too, are taking time this month to research prominent figures in the black community. Fifth-grade teacher Carrie Chodzin explains that the culmination of their research will include creating inspiration t-shirts that highlight the figures.

The sixth-grade choir, led by Julie Vandervliet, is currently learning the song “Joy in My Heart” as arranged by well-known African-American composer Dr. Rollo Dilworth. They are also taking time to discuss the African American spiritual and its roots. The choir will perform this piece in their concert next month.

At the Upper School, there are several ways that all students are engaging in celebrating the unity and diversity of the Kingdom of God in a special way this month. Each Wednesday in February, “family time” is devoted to highlighting a prominent black figure. For example, the first week of February, students watched the powerful testimony of Christian rapper Lecrae and discussed it with teachers and peers in their “family.” Another powerful speaker, former Buckeye and 49ers player Ahmed Plummer, shared a message on being a “fool for Christ” in chapel this month. Plummer will also lead a discussion on the same topic in a small-group format in the coming weeks, along with other small-group discussions. The “Wake Up WC” broadcast team is also hard at work creating videos highlighting influential black figures. The student-led, justice-focused group United Front has been involved in the planning and implementation of various aspects of this month’s activities at the Upper School.

Interim Upper School Principal Tim Kraynak (WC ’94) shares the overarching goals of providing ways for WC students to engage with Black History Month. He explains, “At Worthington Christian, we want to respect the image of God in each other. Because of our concern for the worth and dignity of persons, we desire to teach students how to be sensitive to the needs existing in our society and on our campus. We appreciate and desire to celebrate the unity and diversity of the Kingdom of God.” True to the mission and vision of the school, each of this month’s activities carries a Christ-centered, Kingdom-focused purpose. As students become increasingly sensitive to the needs existing in our society and deepen their appreciation for unity and diversity through a Biblical lens, they will be able to fulfill God’s call in Proverbs 31:8-9.

Stay tuned to WC’s social media platforms to see the beautiful, African-American-inspired creations that the students make over the course of this month. 

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