A Hyde Park charter school celebrated Black History Month by honoring a group of history-makers from the local black community.
On Friday, the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School welcomed black leaders to their second annually youth symposium called “Great Expectations — Do You See What I See?”
The symposium opened with the unveiling of the new Professor Charles J. Ogletree Center for Debate and Discourse honoring the Harvard Law School professor for his leadership and commitment to civil rights over the past three decades.
“Professor Ogletree has a long record of commitment and service to public schools and higher education,” said Roger Harris, superintendant of the charter school, according a statement released by the school.
“This center is a way for us to honor his many achievements by teaching our scholars to challenge themselves and each other to ask pertinent questions, to think about important issues, to have open discussions and debates, and to hear recommendations for improving the quality of life from prominent African Americans.”
The school presented lifetime achievement awards to Clarence “Jeep” Jones, chair of the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s board of directors, and to Alfreda Harris, a member of the Boston School Committee.
The school’s Living Legends award went to Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral; Adrian K. Haugabrook, vice president for enrollment management and student success at Wheelock College; Winston E. Langley, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMass Boston; and Demetriouse L. Russell, director of corporate relations and market development at Harvard Business School.
Maureen Alphonse-Charles, senior director of executive acquisition for City Year, led award recipients in a panel discussion aimed at inspiring the charter school’s students, 96 percent of whom are black or Latino, through exposure to leaders from the local black community.
“It is important for young people to have strong role models who not only set a positive example for kids, but who encourage them to make good choices,” Harris said, according to the statement.