Black History Month Panel Overview- Caitlin Canal ’25

This past February, Oak Knoll concluded its celebration of Black History Month. From celebrating with informative presentations about black culture, including kwanza, to having Black History Month-themed M&M’s at lunch, the Oak Knoll community has proactively acknowledged and participated in Black History Month festivities. This year’s theme was “African Americans and the Arts,” and four alumnae came to speak on a panel about their careers involved in this field. Maxine Lyle, Alana Blaylock, Amy-Sharee Smith, and Tiia Richardson are all trailblazers in the artistic world. Including an Emmy award-winning producer, a producer and playwright, an educator, and a fashion product development consultant, these women encompass what it means to have black excellence. During the Q&A session, the panelists shared how their development into the people they are today was rooted in their experiences at Oak Knoll and how they overcame the hardships of going to a PWI, being that there were only a few minorities within the entire school. While reflecting on their high school experiences, they mentioned some of the pivotal people who encouraged them to pursue what they loved. Even though some of the panelists didn’t end up where they started, they emphasized that the ups and downs are a part of the process and will end up leading you to where you should be. Not only was their insight beneficial to our community because many are heading off to college this year, but it is also empowering to see successful women who share a similar upbringing to many other students.