The sixth annual Celebration of Black Lawrentians, co-sponsored by the Lawrenceville Black Alumni Association (LBAA) and the student-run Alliance of Black Cultures (ABC), offered an inspiring view into the talents and aspirations of the School’s Black students and an insightful window into the Lawrenceville Black experience. Well-attended by Black students, parents, alumni, and the growing number of Black faculty, the event provided an ideal venue for students to deepen their connections within Lawrenceville’s community of color.
The event, held on February 24 to coincide with Black History Month, included the presentation of the Trailblazer Award to an alumnus with a demonstrated history of commitment to the School, the community, and his or her profession. This year’s recipient was Ralph W. Spooner ’75.
The program, emceed by LBAA President Kayla Miller ’19 and ABC Council members Tayari Gachegua ’20 and Mykael Canady ’20, with assistance from Council members Jillian Medina '19 and Amy Aririguzoh '20, was held in Dresdner Recital Hall in the Clark Music Center and incorporated a selection of spoken word pieces and dance. Gabby Medina '19 opened the program by leading guests in “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” James Weldon Johnson’s poem set to music, which is widely accepted as the Black National Anthem.
Recitations included an original spoken word, "I was just thinking ...," by Daniel Cummings '22 and an original poem, "Open the Hell Up," by Ije Achebe '21. Emilia Onuonga '19, with her poem "Africa," and Natalie Carr '19 and Alice Aloo '21, with their dance performance as members of the Afrobeats club on campus, paid tribute to Africa and its culture.
Gachegua introduced Spooner, currently the Manager of Information Services for Horizon Media. A graduate of Williams College, Spooner spoke of being a founding member of LBAA, a head counselor and assistant director at School Camp – after having been a camper there – and a member of the Alumni Association Executive Committee. Spooner also works with the Wadleigh Scholars Program, an organization that helps prepare students to apply to elite boarding schools. “Lawrenceville keeps proving to me that Black students – all students – can have a great experience here,” he said. He added that he returned every year for Alumni Weekend for his first 15 years.
“If you are fully invested here, continue with what you are doing,” he advised. “If not, find something here you can hold on to. You will never have a better experience than Lawrenceville.”
Another LBAA/ABC event will be held during Alumni Weekend, May 3-5
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