For Miami Valley Today
TROY — A group of Troy High School students wants all of their classmates to know they are respected, they are unified and they are supported.
Last summer, that group of students got together and painted banners promoting unity, then hung them up on school property.
As the Troy City Schools join the nation in celebrating Black History Month this February, many of those same students are leading the charge to again promote diversity and unity in the halls of Troy High School.
Troy High School students recently made posters celebrating prominent historical Black figures, then hung them in hallways throughout the school, with each poster being hung near classrooms appropriate to the area in which the poster’s subject excelled.
“During the summer, we had a project that we did with Black Lives Matter protests that were going on,” Troy High School senior Haylee Bridge said. Bridge, the student body president, has been one of the project’s organizers. “We had a lot of good energy from that, so we wanted to do something else and we thought, ‘Why wait? Let’s do it during Black History Month.’ I came to Morgan (Brown) because she’s super knowledgeable in the subject and we came up with all the people we thought would do it. We reached out to the same people that did it during the summer and it really turned out great.”
Morgan Brown, also a senior, was happy to help Bridge organize the project.
“I have loved doing Black History Month projects my entire life and I loved the Black Lives Matter posters we did over the summer,” Brown said. “I like that we have equality here, so I asked Haylee if I could participate. I came up with the Google Doc of all the people we were including, all the historical figures. Her and I went to social media and asked all of Troy High School, basically, if anyone wanted to participate and it turned out really well. We have over 20 posters to hang up over the hallways. That’s what it’s all about.”
Brown said she feels as though the Troy City Schools, and Troy High School in particular, do a good job of making all students feel included and welcome. She credited Troy High School principal Dave Dilbone — who previously served as principal at Troy Junior High School when members of this year’s senior class were in the seventh and eighth grades — for helping foster strong positive relationships within the school.
“I’ve never felt left out or anything,” Brown said. “I’ve felt like, especially Mr. Dilbone, has made it a comfortable place. He’s been with us since we were 13. He has been by us for a really long time. I’m glad I’m a part of the Troy High School and eventually the alumni.”
Dilbone said the initiative has been led entirely by students, who have impressed him with their awareness and empathy.
“It’s just really impressive that our students are the ones who want to be involved in these types of activities and they’re reaching out to me in order to represent all students at Troy High School,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them as their principal.”