At St. Agnes, we use the vehicle of education as a means in which to teach our students how to seek out those moments which require leadership in service to others. Teaching our young people to do all they do for the Greater Glory of God (Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam) represents our belief to inspire the next generation of leaders for our church, their community and our nation. More to this point, training our students how to be leaders begins with engaging them in the roles and responsibilities that will help to create and improve the culture of our school. In addition, we also understand the importance in exposing our students to examples of local and historical leaders whose commitment to their faith and a dedication to impacting the lives of others as they represent themselves as pillars within the community.
Each morning throughout February, the members of our 8th grade class led presentations during our school-wide Community Meeting. The purpose of these daily presentations began as a cross-curricular project for their Science, Social Studies and Technology classes. The research invited them to examine the lives of distinguished scientists, engineers, mathematicians and inventors whose influence inspired positive changes for our nation and our world. The 8th graders then placed this research into an oral and digital presentation as a means in which to provide greater attention to the contributions of these somewhat unfamiliar African American leaders. Their influence in the fields of science, engineering and mathematics are often overlooked or overshadowed, yet deserve our attention and our appreciation. For this reason, the list of African-Americans below serve as role models within American History and whose contributions have changed our world for the better (the 8th grade student presenters are referenced in parentheses):
Mae Jemison: Astronaut, Engineer and Physician (Kemari Johnson)
Alice Ball: Research Chemist (Daizon Meredith)
Bettye Washington Greene: Ph.D. Chemist (Nia Delly-Green)
Katherine Johnson: NASA Mathematician (Christian Smith & Joey D’Ambrosio)
Percy Julian: Research Chemist (Donovan Abron & Jamison Washington)
Garrett Morgan: Inventor (Christopher Degroote)
Marie Van Brittan Brown: Inventor (Seamus Smith)
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysicist (Brashawn Galloway & T. J. Graham)
Patricia Bath: Ophthalmologist (Sophia McCaul & Ceci Liberto)
Charles H. Turner: Research Biologist and Zoologist (Ryan Wilson & Carlos Acosta)
Alexa Canady: Neurosurgeon (Tsion Solomon & Madison Paradela)
Alexander Miles: Inventor (Henry Romeo & James Czlonka)
As we are told in Scripture, “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7). This passage couldn’t be more fitting when I consider the historical and saintly heroes which we bring to light as part of a St. Agnes education.