• Melissa Rosales

Private High School Celebrates Black History Month Thanks To One Student

Published for NET News-Nebraska's NPR and PBS Station

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Students, faculty and staff ate smoked chicken, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and cornbread for lunch yesterday (Photo Courtesy Roncalli Catholic High School).

It’s almost the end of Black History Month and one Nebraska student made sure her whole school celebrated this year.


Syionna Conner is one of four black students in Roncalli Catholic High School’s senior class. She said she noticed the predominantly white high school in Omaha didn’t really do anything for Black History Month last year, and wanted to take action this month through announcements, games, and food.


"Every day starting like the first day of February, pretty much me and two other students, we did announcements," she said. "And we all read facts about historical figures over those days."


Conner said they tested the students through an online game of Kahoot! in all the homeroom classes earlier this week. The winner received a gift certificate to their school’s cafe.


To end the celebration of Black History Month, students, faculty, and staff feasted on free soul food yesterday. Local black-owned restaurant Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering provided the food.


"I wanted to do this to have a chance for everybody to celebrate the culture and not just African Americans," she said. "I wanted everybody to be able to celebrate Black History Month and know what it's about and know what goes into it and all the people and all the history behind it."


Given the circumstances of the pandemic, Conner feels pretty good about what they were able to do. As a senior, she hopes lower classmen will step up and continue the celebration next year.


"Hopefully, this isn't just like a one and done thing since this is like the first year that they've really done something like this," she said. "And I'm hoping it's not like the last time they do something like this."


Conner said the younger black generation should step up, like she did, to get people involved to learn more about their history and culture even after Black History Month is over.

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