Black students emphasize representation with new program
Lake Oswego High School junior Jayden Hill has been involved with the Black Student Union since her freshman year. It's a place where she has found community in a predominantly white school.
"It's been great to see other students in the community who also look like me and have also had the same experiences as me," she said. "Growing up in a predominantly white community, I think that representation is really important."
Hill wanted to create a way for younger students to benefit from the BSU as well.
In a recent BSU meeting with Respond to Racism, a local community group, she brought forward the idea of a mentorship program in which elementary school students would be paired with a mentor based on interests.
Hill said the idea is to give younger students an older role model while fostering representation in their lives.
The mentor and mentee will meet — in whatever mode is deemed safe by both parties and parents — on the first Thursday of every month.
They also hope to hold group mentorship events like family-style dinners, gift exchanges and volunteer projects, though the group is still planning how to do that safely within COVID-19 guidelines.
The BSU also is planning events for Black History Month in February.
Hill said she wants the mentorship program to be an opportunity to bring awareness of Black culture, education and leadership.
Hill said she remembers being in elementary school and how much she looked up to high schoolers.
"I think it would have been so awesome … to see an older role model who has gone through the same things and figured out their identity in Lake Oswego," she said.
Sign up your child for the mentorship program here.
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