By Josette Valtierra, Brentwood Parent
On Saturday, May 4, the Black Families Association (BFA), the Black Students Alliance (BSA), and Parent Alliance of Students of African Descent (PASA), honored the BSA seniors and welcomed our new BFA families to Brentwood School. This event has grown from a simple potluck in the Upper School cafeteria of a few dozen attendees, to approximately 230 adults and children (K-12) filling the tables and lining the walls of the Gym, including BFA families, and various BWS families, faculty, staff, and friends! Our theme highlighted the Core Value of Community and the event fully embodied it. We met the goal of conveying warmth, welcome, and inclusion to our new families, and providing a celebration of culmination for our seniors.
After a delicious lunch of BBQ tri-tip and chicken, (and many tasty potluck side dishes and desserts) the program began with Alaman D.'19, Co-Head Prefect, introducing the new officers of the BSA. Sierra H.'21, the new President of the BSA, took over and introduced a student jazz performance featuring Donavan S.'22, Brendan W.'20, and Michael V. '20 accompanying Sierra in "How Blue Can You Get?"
Then Dawn Cunnion, Assistant Head of School, spoke and inspired us with her message that the community of Brentwood School is "too good not to be better." Dr. Trina Moore-Southhall, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, recited her own beautiful poem, written specifically for the event, "We Are." Tina Evans, PASA Parent Lead and 4th Grade teacher, began the official welcome of new families by welcoming our new kindergarteners. Students, Remi B. '23, Haeley G. '23, and Cameron D.'24 welcomed the new Middle School students and then Niyah H. '20, and Sierra H. '21 welcomed the new Upper School students.
College Counselors Chris Sharp and Yetunde Rubenstein made warm personal remarks about all 4 seniors—Braelee A., Devon A., Alaman D. and Destiny M.—and gave them parting gifts. Parents gave moving tributes to their seniors including Destiny's mom, who wowed us with her rendition of "You are So Beautiful to Me." Alumni members of the BSA in the classes of 2017 and 2018 gave congratulations and sage advice from long distance via video. I delivered closing remarks thanking everyone for coming and thanking all who helped the BSA, PASA, and BFA this year. Sierra ended the celebration by leading everyone in "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing."
Thank you to the event's Planning Committee for all their hard work planning for and working on this event. Thank you also to those who set up everything in the gym and helped clean up after the event. Thank you to everyone that contributed to the potluck by bringing side dishes and delicious desserts for all to share, and to all those parents who helped serving the food. I also thank all of the hard-working Brentwood School administration and staff that worked quietly behind the scenes to facilitate this event. We couldn't have done it without you. Finally, I thank all the families that attended the event and made it a true community celebration.