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Celebrating Black History Month at GRCS

Celebrating Black History Month at Grand Rapids Christian Schools

Two Grand Rapids Christian Schools principals share how their campuses are celebrating Black History Month during the month of February. Throughout the remainder of this month, we will continue to share with you the ways in which our students are learning about and celebrating Black History.


John Barkel

Principal, Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School Iroquois Campus

February is Black History Month. Black History Month dates as far back as 1926 when black leaders in our great nation wanted to dedicate time to celebrate the history and accomplishments of African Americans. They chose February because the celebration would coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. It was originally only a two-week span of time, but about 40 years ago, February became the official month to celebrate Black History.

I just love studying history and nonfiction. Thinking about what our life in our world used to be like, what it looked like, and what people did to survive fascinates me. I wasn’t always a history buff. I grew curious about things from the past. I wasn’t there, so I picked up books written by people who were there or whose journals and letters were organized into a book. Real people who experienced real struggles and real successes. Real pain and real joy. People who endured unimaginable odds and overcame. The people of the past inspire me to look at the odds of life and push hard to overcome the unimaginable.

Celebrating Black History Month is a time dedicated to honoring and learning specifically about African American heroes who have made great contributions and accomplishments that have made our country great and that still live on today. A month dedicated to African American brothers and sisters who have overcome unimaginable odds. 

Look up Matthew Henson, Lewis Latimer, Shirley Ann Jackson, Otis Boykin, Charles Drew, and Marian R. Croak. This is a short and incomplete list of African American people who have made significant contributions to life as we know it today. Each one of us has benefitted from them.

This month is a month to celebrate Black heroes in our world and nation. It’s a month to give thanks for those who have lived through tough stuff and have overcome. Whether our heroes look like us or look different from us, we give praise to God for blessing his children, our brothers and sisters, with extraordinary gifts. Let’s celebrate!


Ben Buursma

Principal, Rockford Christian School

Stories are easily shaped this way or that based on the needs of the teller. Who is telling the story matters. 

During this week's Family Time at Rockford Christian School, Julian Newman shared with our school about how the experience of Black and Brown people have often been mistold or forgotten altogether from the larger narrative of American History. February 1st marks the start of Black History Month and an opportunity to listen carefully to stories we might not have heard before. 

Students at Rockford Christian will be taking time in their classrooms to listen and learn about the contributions of African Americans and how they have shaped and strengthened the American story. More importantly, we will contextualize our learning within God’s Story. When voices are missing or groups of people are underrepresented from the stories we tell, we only get a partial picture of who God is. Our teachers work hard to make sure our students hear more than their own experiences, and in so doing, come to understand God and His world more deeply. 


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