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Pembroke Academy Recognizes Historical Black Colleges and Universities for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Pembroke Academy held their third annual Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Door Decorating Contest and a student-led Black Historical Figure Research Project.
Staff at Pembroke decorated their doors to recognize HBCUs around the country. There were over 90 colleges and universities to choose from, including Alabama A&M UniversityMeharry Medical CollegeMorris Brown College, and Southern University at New Orleans, to name a few. ​​​​​​​

Salwa Kinsey, assistant principal at Pembroke, explained that the HBCU Door Decorating Contest is something that was established since year one at Pembroke Academy. It was a collaborative idea generated by school leadership along with the Reading and Social Studies committees and has now become an annual tradition to kick off Black History Month. “We wanted to ensure our students were inspired and became motivated about the HBCUs they saw all around them on the doorways to their classrooms, including fun facts and famous people they may admire who have previously attended some of these HBCUs,” she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s shared the definition of an HBCU being, “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principle mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered.”
After receiving the list of schools, staff chose which school they would feature and got to decorating! Each door had to include the title/name of the college represented, famous people who attended the college, location, general facts, and requirements to apply. ​​​​​​​

Kinsey shared that the project is a great way to see everyone’s creativity shine, but also to inspire and motivate students on their college-bound path. In addition to decorating HBCU doors, students and families are working on a school-wide Black history research project where each student and family identifies one famous African American to research, creating a project board with all of the highlights of facts and details to what they learned about their person. These projects are presented in class, and the top three winners from each wing have the opportunity to present during Pembroke’s morning assemblies at the end of February.  ​​​​​​​
“As educators and school leaders, it is important for us to come together as a united educational community to ensure we produce top quality events, projects, and presentations where our students can learn about African American history and the great accomplishments that they contributed and continue to contribute to society,” said Kinsey. “It is not only important for learning and understanding of these great contributions, but it is also inspiring for our young students as they build their road of educational and lifelong success.”
Black History Month, which takes place every February, is a designated time to recognize and reflect the significant roles African Americans have played in shaping U.S. history.

Between the HBCU Door Decorating Contest and the Black Historical Figure Research Project, it is a learning opportunity for all.