Our current steps…
As a prime, core group of St Mark’s academy, we aim to establish significant changes within our school as well as pose as inspirational examples to not only our local community but hopefully regionally. We are a small group, aim for change, B.I.G change. BIG stands for Black is Great.
Currently within the weeks of thoughtful organisation and careful, keen assembling, we have made several PowerPoints focused on Black excellence. We believe that the Black community shouldn’t be correlated towards only slavery, but to greatness and successes as daily life has been heavily impacted by Black resilient, inspirational creators, spokesmen and women.
We have also initiated assemblies aimed at all year groups, to come and appreciate Black excellence and not be bystanders. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, B.I.G and the St Mark’s community want everybody to celebrate Black achievement. We are also strengthening this idea of Black excellence through throwing an event stimulated around Black excellence, being held on the 10th of November! Do not be afraid to come and celebrate, all schools, all ages and especially all races will be warmly welcomed as soon as they pass through the doors of hope and change, St Mark’s doors. Food, music, talent, flamboyant Caribbean, and African culture will be seemingly exhibited to the audience, well-catered within St Mark’s. If incapable of travelling to the Caribbean or Africa to embrace their culture, why not bring the culture to you?
Food is another essential thing that us B.I.G members would love to emphasise. Beginning from Monday 17th October, the mouth-watering taste of African and Caribbean cuisine has been shared in the canteen! We aim to destigmatise the harsh stereotypes orbited around Caribbean and African dishes! What other way could we do this without appreciating the luscious, taste-bud-tingling sensation of African and Caribbean cuisine?
We have also influenced subjects within our school to support the decolonisation of our curriculum. We have established this change through history and English, core subjects where it is essential to learn about black past, and again, not through slavery but through black excellence!
We have all developed these ideas through meetings, where BIG members, alongside the senior leadership team are the driving force of change and action. Like Martin Luther King stated “Lightning Makes No Sound Until It Strikes”.
Future Goals and our Legacy…
Our goal is to not only implement change during Black History Month, but to also enforce change for eternity. Black History Month is not the only time where we have the ability to create a more accepting and inclusive environment at school and in our local community. Other ideas, such as a cultural day where students can display their own cultural dress, are currently being discussed amongst the group, allowing the students at St Mark’s Academy to present their deep passion in their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We also aim to prevent discrimination not only against Black students and families in our community, but for other underprivileged minority groups too. This includes the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and women, whom we believe are also incredibly important in our local community. Overall, we wish to reinforce our main goals throughout our year at the Academy, creating a safer and more inclusive school for the younger years.
To ensure that the changes we implement remain at the Academy, we also plan to pass down our ideas to the younger years once our time at the Academy nears the end. Many younger students are already interested in partaking in our goals due to our assemblies and PowerPoint presentations during Coaching Time. We plan to enrol students in younger years so that change continues to occur at our Academy as well as development on our own aims. We believe that our group should not be seen as a ‘one-hit wonder’ but rather a fantastic opportunity for pupils to use their voices to make change and educate those in the community and in our school on the essential actions needed for notable change. In the future, we hope that our group will continue to flourish and display the diversity and inclusivity that our school has to offer whilst also pointing out flaws in the community and how we aim to change these.
Our BIG vision…
As well as the constant sense of community, care and drive to success, St Mark’s Academy also encourages the development of the moral and spiritual well-being of students throughout their journey in St Mark’s Academy. Our vision at St Mark’s is to raise the achievement and present life-changing chances for our students and to serve our community by providing access to a range of activities. Without this vision, without a doubt this B.I.G group wouldn’t have been brought to life. Not only does the Academy acknowledge the academic and creative gifts of our students, but we also value the individuality and uniqueness, skills and aptitudes we bring to the academy. Most importantly our academy is a community of transformation founded on the inclusive Christian values of love, hope and trust.
We are ”transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2), this bible quote on strength and nourishment upholds us with the hope that the BIG group can influence society just by the alteration of our mindsets and the continuous determination to achieve greatness and the unreachable! We celebrate justice, equality, and diversity so that we all can live ”life in all its fullness” (John 10:10).
Role models rooted from our grounds…
In St Mark’s Academy we are privileged to have Black role models that were members of our community, such as Dave who is also known as Santan Dave, a British rapper, musician, songwriter, record producer and actor. Dave has gained acclaim for his socially conscious lyricism. His brother’s absence fuelled him to strive to succeed; despite all these negative life lessons that have happened in his life. Dave can be seen as a strong-willed young role model who was able to stand up against all odds to reach success. Therefore, he influences us today as he used his talent to create positivity and we want to do the same.
Another role model member of the St Mark’s Academy is Kwajo Twenboa, an advocate for change who used his voice to improve below-standard living. The student took on the country’s most prominent social landlord. Now, he champions all those living in terrible conditions. He was recently awarded the Cultural Hero of The Year. He has been interviewed by BBC news, Good Morning, Britain, The Guardian and more. “I’m willing to take on absolutely everyone and anyone to ensure this issue is spoken about,” he says. This shows us that we should use our voice to help and educate others around us and our voice matters and should be heard.
The birth of the BIG dream…
- B. I. G (Black is great) was set to life when students were given an opportunity to go an event to talk about Black people in the workforce and the challenges faced there which was given to us by an author named …
- After the event we met up with our principal Miss Fahey where she asked us about our experience and the impact that it has had on us.
- After this moving event, as a group started to talk about how we could incorporate the stuff we learnt in our lives and how we could use it to better the well-being of others and around school.
- Shortly after, our principal produced the idea to make these students into a group to make a change around our school and society. Our actions rooted from the big group will contribute to the change that our society strongly desires for, to maintain peace between all minorities.
Ways that you can assist our BIG vision…
As a school we are inclusive and keen to hear student’s voices. In our B.I.G group it is our top priority as we go above and beyond to absorb these new ideas and bring then to life. Therefore, we would love to give advice and guidance to other schools on what they can do to help make schools more inclusive and accepting of different cultures.
There are many more things that we can do to help but this is just the beginning of a new era. Our decisions have been carefully crafted by all of our members. Although it is essential to have leadership roles, it is also vital for us to ensure that we are all doing our part and contributing to all areas to establish this change. We put emphasis in establishing equality no matter what race, religion, gender or sexuality.
Ms Fahey: It is both an honour and privilege to work alongside St Mark’s BIG group and collaborate for positive change. The quote from, Marian Wright Edelman, “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See” drives students and whole school practice. At St Mark’s a large part of our vision involves finding ways to create the next generation of changemakers and courageous advocates, and this group is central to that mission.
The Black Lives Matter movement gave voice to deep inequalities. It is our mission at St Mark’s to use the gift of education as a powerful weapon to break down barriers established by racism and celebrate diversity and the contribution of black people to our world, country and school.
Our current steps – Daniella Titiriku
Future goals and our Legacy – Deejahnay Murphy
Our BIG Vision- Emma Bwanswa
Role models rooted from our grounds – Lei-Ann Clarke
The birth of the BIG dream – Godlina Boateng
Ways you can assist our BIG vision – Emmanuella Kuvodu