26 Feb Read-In Challenge at Louisville’s West End School

It’s Black History Month, and as we’ve said before, celebrating diversity is always a win. This year, Helmers + Associates had the honor of participating in Black History Month programming in the Louisville community. In its significant commitment to diversity and community involvement, Helmers+Associates proudly took part in the West End School’s First Annual Black History Month Read-In Challenge!

A group of people standing next to each other in front of a small balloon arch with the words "West End School" painted on the wall behind them.
Some of the speakers for the WES Read-In Challenge pose for a photo together after visiting the classes. From left to right: John Helmers, Robert Boone, President and Head of School Dr. Gregory Ross, John Taylor, JaKesha Martin, and Dan Hall. Photo by George Williams.

West End School (WES) is a scholarship-based independent school that provides an environment for boys in pre-K through 8th grade to learn not only academics but also core values such as responsibility, respect, trust, forgiveness, and perseverance.  During the month of February, WES filled its calendar with enriching Black History Month programming that brought professionals, educators, community members, and students closer. Kicking off with a day of community service on the first Saturday of the month, West End School’s Black History Programming featured an essay contest entitled “To Be a Man is to be Responsible,” a classroom bulletin board challenge coined “The Halls of Greatness,” a school-wide assembly featuring Kentucky Civil Rights Hero, Mr. Sam Hawkins, interactive exhibits through a living museum and finally their first annual Black History Month Read-in Challenge! 

The Read-In Challenge took place on February 8 and was an opportunity for adult professionals, business owners, local politicians, and community leaders to connect with WES students by discussing their roles within the local community and the importance of Black History. Each volunteer was able to speak in two separate classes and also read age-appropriate books highlighting the dynamic roles that African Americans have played in our country’s history. Our very own JaNae Martin, whose son attends third grade at West End School, was instrumental in organizing this and other February events. She believes this was a time to celebrate diversity and inclusion all while fostering conversations and highlighting the historical significance of African Americans both from Kentucky and beyond. “Recognizing and valuing each other’s histories, our stories and our achievements will be what carries us forward in this country,” JaNae said.

John Helmers was excited to join in and speak to 3rd and 7th grade students about the importance of all students learning Black History. John said, ”The kids were engaged and had insightful questions. I was most impressed by the caliber of their questions and the fact that they already knew a lot about important black figures in history. One example that comes to mind is their familiarity with Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice.”

To see Helmers+Associates commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, click here.

To learn more about West End School, or to donate, click here.

by Evanthi Hettiaratchi and JaNae Martin