Written by Laureanna Crump, Second Year AmeriCorps member proudly serving on the Irene W. and C. B. Pennington Foundation team at Kenilworth Science and Technology School. 

We are committed to harnessing one of the most powerful forces for positive change at work in the world today.

The idealism of our youth is one of the most significant force of today’s society, and by working in inner-city schools, City Year gives us the opportunity to help influence that force. To me, the phrase “Belief in the Power of Young People” means getting our youth to believe in themselves and Kenilworth is doing just that. With Black History Month among us and the release of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther,’ Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter (KST) has joined the initiative to help children see the film. The movie exudes blackness, and it is important for our youth to be able to see that in the mainstream. It’s rare that some of our students get to see a representation of themselves depicted as a superhero in a film that has a predominantly black cast. Not only does the film exude blackness, but it also depicts feminism and non-stereotypical representations of black masculinity, fatherhood, and community as a nation.

On Thursday, February 22, 2018, the top ten performing students of each grade were taken to see the latest installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Additionally, KST has been informing students about the global #BlackPantherChallenge that was initiated by New York activist, Frederick Joseph; and is planning a fashion show featuring African attire for our upcoming Black History Program. But, that’s still not the only form of expression Kenilworth is showcasing. During the program, KST is also giving students a chance to express themselves through performance-based art (dance, short play, comedy, etc.), spoken word poetry, sketch drawings, paintings, and essay writing. KST will make donations to the charity that second and third places winners choose, and first place winners will be featured in the AROA magazine. The AROA magazine is owned by an African American woman, Ms. Liz, who is the parent of one of our 7th graders. The magazine was created to feature the creative works of the youth in the community.

The effort KST has shown to showcase our students’ talents and interests is remarkable. Rather than explicitly telling the students what they’re doing for Black History Month program, the school has created a platform so that students are able to tell their own history in the manner they choose. This, in my opinion, encompasses the idea that Kenilworth believes in the power of the voices and creativity of our students. Sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in a child’s craft for it to blossom into something that can impact future masses. 

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