National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) is a national event that started in 1995 as the brainchild of long time Michigan principal Joseph Dulin. He was inspired to take action after attending the Million Man March and a speaker challenged attendees to do more to be involved in their communities. Currently, NAAPID events are held in 49 states, including many local schools in the area.
On Thursday, February 11, J.W. Eater Junior High held its first NAPPID event. Over 200 parents, children and community members were in attendance at the school gym for the evening’s activities.
8th Grade student Victor Bradley was the student keynote speaker. During his talk, he highlighted the support of his family in his academic and extracurricular pursuits. Victor also noted that it was these strong connections and involvement from his family that helped contribute to his successes inside and outside of school. Although admittedly a little nervous, Victor stressed the importance of sharing his story publicly because it would help “us move to be a better school and [Rantoul] a better place” by beginning to have these conversations and developing the connective relationships between school, parents and the community.
This message was also echoed by the staff keynote speaker, Mr. Herbert Burnett. Mr. Burnett noted the recent improvement in the amount of students reading at grade level in the building. He advocated for developing proactive relationships between parents and teachers to help the children succeed. Burnett also spoke of the integral need that kids require – the meaningful presence of adults who care about their growth and development.
The student choir sang renditions of Lift Every Voice and Sing – often referred to as the ‘African American National Anthem’ and the recent John Legend hit Glory from the movie Selma. The Royals, Eater’s step team performed a routine and the school Jazz Band played “All That Jazz” by Miles Davis and “Baby That’s What I Need” by Julian Adderley.
After the event, over 55 teen and young adult books were raffled off to families and Chef Curtis McGhee provided a delicious dinner for the attendees.
Eater Vice Principal and NAAPID organizer Amy Boscolo said that she led the charge to organize NAAPID with interested staff because the school have never done an event previously. She said that it was “an opportunity to showcase talents and create partnerships with the school” by including parents and the community to become more connected through the event. Boscolo noted that the NAAPID program is another way to develop synergy through diversity. Based on the success, JW Eater and Rantoul look forward to more events to help “be a better school and [make Rantoul] a better place.”