By Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer | Published February 15, 2016
St. Thomas More School in Decatur is one of the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta that has consistently celebrated Black History Month over the years with its students.
Last week, Feb. 11, I drove over to the Decatur school on the day when Mike Norment, a former USA National Swimming Team member and All-American collegiate swimmer at the University of Georgia, Athens, was scheduled to speak to a group of students.
I arrived early, and it’s probably a good thing, because Kim Kissell, the school’s director of daily school operations, informed me that Melody Summers, one of the teachers, wanted me to come upstairs and view her fourth grade class’s Black History Month project. Ms. Summers has taught at St. Thomas More School for 45 years and she taught our son probably about 18 years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting her current crop of 25 enthusiastic fourth-graders. They shared some insights about their Black History Month project, which they began in mid January. On the particular day I stopped by, they were wrapping up the oral presentations that went with their “biography dolls” on display outside their room. The students also pointed out to me how much they learned from hearing about each other’s presentations.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has his very own “biography doll” too. Sean Leonard was the student responsible for reporting on the archbishop. On the wall Archbishop Gregory is displayed between Andrew Young, the former Atlanta mayor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and St. Martin de Porres, and just above the late Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks.
Lastly, the fourth grade class also has a Holy Door of Mercy at the entrance to its classroom. Each student has their name on a red or blue, heart-shaped piece of paper that begins a sentence, followed by the words “is Merciful and Blessed!”
Keep up the good work STM fourth-graders and Ms. Summers! Forty-five years of teaching is quite an accomplishment.