30 Mar 2018

Grads Share Experiences With Students For Black History Month Project – Part Three

In early February, CHS student ministers serving on the diversity committee reached out to minority alumni and invited them to be part of a Black History Month project. These graduates agreed to participate in an email exchange, answering questions about their experiences at CHS with the hope that we could use what we learn to improve current student experiences.

The student ministers asked alumni to share memories about their activities and involvement at CHS, best experiences, greatest challenges, biggest adjustments and what helped them to be successful. The survey concluded with questions about how and when they encountered racism and racial insensitivity and how they would like to see CHS change in the future.

CHS senior and student minister Drake Brignac, expressed the group’s goal and motivation behind undertaking such an important and revealing project. “It is our deep desire that we, as students, can identify issues that have faced minority graduates in the past and address them today to promote diversity and acceptance for ourselves and our posterity.”

This project follows other school-wide efforts this year to address the challenges faced by minority students at CHS. Our big read – Under Our Skin, faculty formation opportunities including attending the People of Color Conference and a special visit from Dr. James Cook ‘68, have helped facilitate ongoing conversations regarding race and diversity on our campus and in our community.

CHS Principal Lisa Harvey expressed her appreciation to the student ministers and alumni who took part in this project. “I am grateful to our current students and alumni who participated in these conversations. I am particularly thankful that Campus Ministry and our student ministers have pursued this dialogue, and I look forward to future conversations that will allow our school to become a better sanctuary for all who enter here.”

We are very grateful for the honesty, thoughtfulness and candor of the following alumni who provided responses to our questions:

Terry Gray ’96, Gary Johnson ’04, Byron Washington ’06, Thomas Broussard ’07, Nicholas Fisher ’07, Henry Minor ’07, Jason Peters ’07, Alex Hurst ’08, Lonnie Lockett ’09, Marcus Thomas ’09, Brian Tucker ’12, Clarence Ellis ’13, Tyler Sparrow ’13, Todd Sterling ’15, LaMonth Williams ’15.

Over the next several weeks, we will post responses from the survey. Each week’s post will focus on a different question from the survey. This post focuses on the question:

What are some of your best memories as a student at Catholic High School? 

  • Going to NYC to perform at Carnegie Hall is still one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in my life. Also graduating – not just walking across the stage, but walking through the line of teachers to go outside and to see their faces and how proud they were of me. Still, to this day, even with me being in the Navy for five years, that is my PROUDEST MOMENT. (Ellis)
  • The football games on Friday nights and of course defeating the girls of SJA on Challenge Day. Senior retreat was by far my favorite because I was able to reflect on how much CHS really meant to me and how much I learned during my time there. (Sparrow)
  • My better memories of CHS revolve solely around sports. (Broussard)
  • Working Open House. (Johnson)
  • The Friday night lights and other athletic events; the senior retreats; choir trips, competitions and performances; student minister trips to visit priests and other student ministry teams; Men’s Club suppers; working Open Houses. (Gray)
  • Traveling with the wrestling team to out-of-state wrestling tournaments and summer camps. The first few CHS/SJA challenge days. My senior class retreat. (Hurst)
  • School dances, Key Club service projects and conventions, retreats, football games, student council meetings and even school masses where we would sing certain songs that I probably don’t have to name. (Fisher)
  • The sporting events and my physics class with Mr. Sollie. (Peters)
  • Challenge Day, Senior Retreat, Bro. Xavier’s English class. (Lockett)
  • The work study program with Coach Hood. It kept me busy during the summer and it helped develop my physical strength as well as my mental toughness for football workouts. I had so many great experiences throughout my time at Catholic – the FCA car washes, the FCA Playstation tournament, Challenge Days, themed dances, senior retreat, senior week. (Thomas)

Next week’s post will focus on the question: What were some of your “aids to success” as a student at CHS?