Celebrating Black History Month - A Celebration of Black Excellence

Celebrating Black History Month - A Celebration of Black Excellence


The Mount community honored Black History Month with an assembly planned and led by the members of the Diversity Club. A Celebration of Black Excellence, the gathering of students, faculty, and staff listened to several informative and enlightening presentations on topics including cultural traditions synonymous with Black communities, Affirmative Action and representation in the media, as well as a student’s personal reflection on the importance of being seen.

Students opened the assembly with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The presentation that followed honored a group of innovators who demonstrate empowerment and success in spite of adversity. Among them was Dr. Gladys West, who is recognized as the creator of GPS technology. We learned about the origins and traditions surrounding some of the most popular soul food dishes, which was enjoyed by all in our cafeteria, as well as a brief history lesson about affirmative action, its impact on college admissions, and several ongoing controversies and court cases. Student presenters continued to share the difference between good representation and misrepresentation of Black Americans in the media. Rounding out the student portion of the assembly was a moving student reflection about the importance of being seen. The Diversity Club members poured their hearts and souls into this effort and we are grateful for their ongoing willingness to share their passion and experiences with our school community. 

The Mount was thrilled to welcome alumna Monica Wharton ’94, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee back to campus for her incredible remarks and reflection. Ms. Wharton fondly recalled her years at the Mount and expressed a genuine appreciation for the foundation provided by the school. Based on discussions throughout the day, it is evident that her messages resonated deeply with students and adults alike. Recalling a retreat during her time as a student when Sister Barbara Cowan, OP challenged thinking about the true meaning of success, Monica continued to share her thoughts on the value of being proximate and making connections, and our responsibility to explore alternative perspectives. Our students were encouraged to be themselves, to be good listeners, to embrace what is right, and to fight for justice even if it is inconvenient and uncomfortable.

The assembly was yet another reminder of our shared responsibility to lean in, listen to understand, and leave our world better than we found it. As we continue our recognition of Black History Month, we look forward to more opportunities to share and celebrate.



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Black History Month Alumna Spotlight: Marie M. Jackson '01, DMD, FAGD

MSDA Black History Month Guest Speaker Marie M. Jackson, DMD, FAGD, member of the MSDA Class of 2001, is a general dentist and owner of Stellar Smile Center in Montclair, NJ. Dr. Jackson earned her B.S. in engineering science, graduating magna cum laude from the accelerated B.S./D.M.D. program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2004. She went on to earn her doctor of dental medicine in 2008 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey, where she served as president of the Student National Dental Association, and was awarded the Uriel Gunthrope Award and the New Jersey Dental School Student Leadership and Distinguished Service Award. A fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, Dr. Jackson prides herself on treating every patient with the utmost gentle care and has created an office environment more akin to a warm visit with a friend than a trip to the dentist. Dr. Jackson shares important insights “beyond the brush,” reaching out to the community through innovative and engaging social media posts that cover everything from the importance of flossing properly, to mental health, to the research that led her to making the personal decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

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