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Mount Kisco Elementary School Celebrates Black History with Creativity

MKES leader gives PRES students a tour

For the second year in a row, Mount Kisco Elementary School held a schoolwide door decorating contest in honor of Black History Month.

The event culminated in a parade that allowed students and staff to enjoy the creativity of their peers while learning more about Black history. This year, MKES invited Pound Ridge Elementary School fifth graders to visit for their own parade, adding to the community-building event.

“The yearly parade to view our creative work is an instructional gallery walk and serves to launch purposeful discussion, exploration and reflection,” said Multicultural Committee Co-Chair Joanna Breeding. “Our students proudly show off and applaud each other’s work.”

This year was slightly different than last year in that each grade collaborated on a central theme or figure.

“The grades worked together to create a theme, decorate their doors, show creativity and learn about events, people and different movements led by strong, brave, smart African Americans and Afro-Latinos,” said co-chair Wendyliza Gonzalez.

On the day of MKES’s door tour parade, the excitement of students as they viewed each other’s work was palpable. There were gasps as they pointed to different doors with awe.

“Oooh, I like this one! She has eyelashes and the papers cover her like a dress!”

“¡Mira, Pelé!”

“Black Panther! I like that one!”

The excitement carried over when, a week later, students from PRES visited for their own tour. Led by MKES fifth graders, PRES students paraded through the halls looking at each of the doors while their MKES leaders proudly pointed out different things.

“Every single one of these are African American artists,” Charlene told her group. “You can see some of their art here.”

PRES students, who have been studying the Civil Rights movement, recognized many important figures in Black history during the tour. They also noticed that many of the doors mirrored each other — with one in English and one in Spanish — which in itself is a reflection of the fact that MKES is a Dual Language school. They even learned a little Spanish from their guides.

PRES staff members were as impressed as their students were.

“I love how it brings the whole school together,” fifth-grade teacher Maria Pappace said to her students. “It wasn’t just the students, even the custodians made a door!”

PRES Principal Dr. Stephanie Bell called the event a “wonderful learning experience that brought our district together in a truly meaningful way. We are so appreciative of MKES for welcoming us.”

MKES Principal Inas Morsi-Hogans takes great pride in the way her school celebrated Black history.

“When we are intentional about honoring and celebrating Black History Month in a way that is fun, purposeful and dynamic — in this case, healthy competition — we uncover information that is meaningful and much more than the mainstream,” said MKES Principal Morsi-Hogans. “I hadn’t heard of some of the African Americans in our current society who are making huge impacts on culture, financial literacy, art, music, beauty and politics. I love being a lifelong learner, and I love that my students and teachers introduced me to Black people making a difference!”

This year’s classroom winners of the door decorating contest was the first grade. The “out-of-classroom” winners were the custodial engineers, one of whom is an MKES alumnus. Grade winners will enjoy a movie and popcorn day and educators will receive a token of appreciation from the MCC.

MKES students inspect a door during their Door Tour
MKES and PRES students pose together