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Communities In Schools Celebrates Black History Month

Communities In Schools Celebrates Black History Month: Honoring Icons of the Past and Embracing Changemakers of the Present

By Communities In Schools | Feb. 9, 2024

As the nation observes Black History Month (BHM), Communities In Schools® (CIS®) proudly joins the celebration by recognizing the profound impact of historical icons and shining a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of students, alumni and others in our national network who are shaping history in the present.

For more than 45 years, CIS has empowered millions of young people to achieve their goals in school, succeed in the workforce, and thrive in life. We have witnessed students and alumni making momentous strides, achieving significant firsts, and leaving lasting marks on society. 

We are honored to recognize and showcase trailblazers across generations this year during Black History Month. By celebrating the achievements of those who have paved the way, we aim to inspire future leaders, ensuring a legacy of resilience, excellence, and progress.

- Aisha Walters, CIS Principal of DEI Programs and Initiatives

History in the Making 

In 2023, CIS Alumnus Cyril Jefferson achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first Black mayor (and one of the youngest) of High Point, N.C. Cyril previously served as an operations intern, youth development consultant, and student support specialist with CIS of High Point. During the Youth Advocacy Panel at CIS National's 2023 Achieve In Life Summit, Cyril made a surprise appearance and shared how his CIS experience will shape his governance.

CIS of Atlanta alumna Mya Schofield is a proud graduate of Benedict College, a Historically Black College & University in Columbia, S.C. While attending Benedict College, she made history as the first woman to hold the position of Student Government Association President and was crowned the 79th Miss Benedict College.

Jerron Wheeler, Esq., a CIS of Jacksonville alumnus, graduated in the top 25% of his class at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. An advocate for social change, he currently works as an assistant public defender, adjunct professor at his alma mater, University of South Florida, and a dedicated member of the CIS of Jacksonville Board of Directors and Alumni Advisory Group.

These and other alumni journeys exemplify the impact of CIS in fostering diverse leaders who shape the future.

Network Activations

CIS of Benton-Franklin

At Jefferson Elementary School, student support coordinator Patricia creatively crafted an “Instagram” display on her office door featuring remarkable Black individuals who have significantly impacted various fields. Each “post” included a famous quote, captivating students' minds by featuring activists, trailblazers, artists, and athletes. This engaging display celebrates diversity and encourages reflection, which we love!

CIS of Charlotte

During a staff meeting, the CIS of Charlotte team recognized Black Americans' contributions to the field of education. Staff celebrated Black History Month and HBCU Pride by wearing apparel from their alma mater and/or fraternity/sorority. Lots of celebrating and pride all the way around!

CIS of Eastern Pennsylvania

During the morning announcements, site coordinator Daryll Ellison and the CIS team at Reading High School hosted a daily trivia game about Black American historical figures. Students who answered the questions correctly were entered into a raffle to win a prize.

CIS National

National staff members had fun creating posters featuring quotes from prominent Black figures for CIS of NOVA to hang in their schools. Some staff, like Ruben Watson, Director of Foundational Giving at the National Office, also recorded short videos on how CIS supports the future generation of Black leaders and changemakers.


Lead site coordinator Darrien Day took time to empower his students at Gunston Middle School to embrace who they are and to be confident in what they can accomplish. Guston Middle School’s “I Am and I Can” video serves as a reminder to continue to support the endeavors of all students striving for their goals.

CIS of Tennessee

Program Manager Karimah Taylor is an artist and arts advocate. After applying for and winning a grant from the Metro Arts Commission, three murals were painted in schools CISTN supports. Local muralists were hired to meet with current students from the schools to help them paint a message to leave behind for future generations of students. You can learn more about the project here.


Communities In Schools invites you to join in the celebration by following us on social media and engaging in the conversation using the hashtag #CISBlackHistory.

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Data submitted in this form is provided to a third-party data processor. By submitting this form, you agree to FormAssembly’s and Causeview’s privacy policies (linked) and the use of your personal data as described therein.