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A Focus on Black History

February 9, 2022 | Cindy Kuperus

February is Black History Month.

It’s the shortest month of the year. Why study Black History for only 28 days (and 18 school days)?

We don’t, but we are intentional during these days.

We recognize that the importance of spending time EVERY SINGLE DAY on the study is significant and important.

And necessary.

For too many years, the history of Black Americans was hidden. And it is still not fully brought to light yet.

Third grade is using a slide show that Ms. Sytsma shared with us. Each morning, we hear the name and story of a different African American.

Students are invited to write and draw the information that they hear and see. Here are some students’ drawings and writings:

Each day, after a story is heard about that day’s African American in history, there is discussion, and there are questions.

Each day we hear at least one “quote” from the day’s African American story. Here are some of them:

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”  (Frederick Douglass)

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” (Mae C. Jemison)

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when you are doing right.” (Rosa Parks)

These are truthful and inspiring words, aren’t they?

You may ask your child to share the day’s African American study at your dinner table. You might even do some additional research. You might wonder together, “Whose voice is hidden today?”

Cindy Kuperus

Teacher, Grades 3&4

Ms. Kuperus attended a small Lutheran grade school and has always been a student in multi-grade classrooms. She became interested in teaching, in fact, when she would assist classmates when the teacher was busy helping others. Her 5th/6th grade teacher, Mrs. Roman, encouraged her to think broadly about the world beyond their small town (population: 500), giving stickers to those who could answer a question from the World News segment from television the night before. She would be thrilled to learn that Ms. Kuperus has taught internationally in Masaya, Nicaragua, and Chengdu,China.

After graduating from Calvin College, Ms. Kuperus taught students in grades two-six for almost 10 years in Kentwood, Michigan. In 1994, Ms. Kuperus sought a teaching position in a school in the Northeast, anywhere but New Jersey. She’s now taught for over 23 years in NEW JERSEY! Two of her former students, Becca Brasser and Sam Martino, are now on staff at MSS.

Ms. Kuperus loves opportunities to travel, interact with the people, and taste the foods of the world. She’s also a person who ‘travels” with the characters in the books she reads!

It’s important to Ms. Kuperus that people’s voices are heard and that their needs for shelter and food are met. To that end, she volunteers for organizations like First Friends and the Sharing Place.

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