13 November 2020
Black History Month gives us a chance to recognise and highlight the accomplishments of Black people throughout the years, and Northampton High were delighted to celebrate this time with a host of exciting and informative events throughout the month, including online meetings with key figures in the Black community.
The month kicked off with the annual Black History Month display in the school Reception, a thought-provoking exhibit which is the catalyst for healthy debate and discussion. Educational assemblies were also on offer, with the thoughtful and emotive presentations helping to share a wealth of information with pupils, with topics including ‘significant, but not well-known examples of Black History’ and ‘a considerate analysis into the rise of the Black Lives Matter (#BLM)’.
Alongside these events, Northampton High have been delighted to welcome dynamic and motivating guests to speak with their community over the course of the month. Taking place over Zoom, students have been joined by Sharna Jackson, Valerie Vaz MP and June-Elizabeth White Gulley during October. Sharna Jackson is an author and artistic director who was awarded ‘The Booksellers Rising Stars’ in 2013 and her impressive book ‘High-Rise Mystery’ is currently nominated for Waterstone’s ‘Children’s Book Prize 2020.’ Sharna spoke eloquently about her desire to become a writer, some of the challenges she had faced and how she formulates successful stories, before hosting a fantastic Q&A with engaged pupils.
Valerie Vaz is currently Member of Parliament for Walsall South, and also undertakes the role of Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. Valerie joined students for a fascinating talk, in which she spoke about her beginnings and some personal challenges, including the sad passing of her father when she was 16, as, in part, an inspiration to her and her brother’s desire to help people. Valerie gave advice about being resilient, determined, and how ‘getting angry’ in a good way, can lead to positive action and change, reflecting on seeing this recently in the Black Lives Matter movement and particularly admiring the younger generation for speaking up about their desires for change.
June-Elizabeth White Gulley is the Northampton-born daughter of Jamaican parents with Irish and Scottish heritage. During her working life, June-Elizabeth served as the first Black police officer in Northamptonshire, as well as being a nurse, running a music school for disadvantaged children and later retraining as a health counsellor. June-Elizabeth’s lively presentation explained her passion for celebrating Black History Month through talks and discussion, gave insight into life growing up in Northamptonshire as a child of the Windrush generation and demonstrated to all how she has been able to employ her transferable skills throughout her varied careers.