Home Features Black Student Association: A close-knit community for students at OH

Black Student Association: A close-knit community for students at OH


Oswego High School’s Black Student Association (BSA) doubles as both an extracurricular club and a fun social environment. BSA gives black students at OHS the opportunity to come together, hang out, and learn about Black culture and its importance. The association does this in many ways, including club meetings, trips, and the planning of special events.

“I like to describe it as a family. It’s like a home for black students,” junior Jakhai Hudson, a board member of BSA, says.

The association was founded in 2017 by Mrs. Shaunise Thomas, who has run the program since it began. 

“The Black students here needed a voice. They also needed to see that there is culture outside of Oswego High School and outside of Oswego, Illinois,” Thomas says. BSA originated as a Black History Program here at OHS. Thomas expanded on this program and developed it into a Black Student Association to help empower Black students and teach them about the importance of learning about Black culture.

Black students make up a minority of the student population at Oswego High School. BSA offers them an outlet to relate to one another in ways that they may not be able to with classmates of other races. However, the club is not exclusively for Black students, but instead has members of a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Since the founding, the size of the club has increased substantially from an initial 25 members to the current count of over 100. 

“I just like gathering with them and talking to them about different things that have come up in black communities,” junior Briana Tucker, a board member of BSA, says. Students in BSA have built their own community within OHS. In this community they are given the chance to connect with one another and build relationships based on mutual experiences that other students outside of BSA may not find familiarity in.  

During meetings, the association has a blast. Hanging out and getting to know one another is one of the best parts for many of the members. BSA helps them build friendships to form a community for Black students at OH. During these meetings, they collaborate to plan the events that the club participates in, including the activities and games that they will partake in at future meetings.

“We were doing trivia one time, and it was really fun because it was ‘black trivia’. It was artists and culture—stuff like that,” junior Liana Melton says. Fun activities like this help to become familiar and comfortable with one another and create a culture of friendship and inclusivity for the members.

They are also given the opportunity to learn more about black culture during meetings. Through fun activities, they discover new things about Black culture and its role in our society, all while having a blast with their friends. This part of BSA is something that means a lot to Thomas, who notes that one of the most important parts of running the association is to educate students about culture beyond Oswego and OHS. 

Recently, the association has been working hard to plan and coordinate its upcoming Black Tie Ball.

“We just wanted to host something to bring more fun into the school year because sometimes it can get boring, especially in the months where nothing is happening,” Melton says. The ball brings an element of fun to the often mundane month of February and it is the perfect opportunity to get dressed up and have a fun night out with friends.

The Black Tie ball will take place from 7-11 p.m. on Feb. 25 in the Auxiliary gym of OHS, and will have both special performances and a guest speaker. 

“One of my good friends, Natalie Bonner, is going to be the speaker,” Thomas says. “She runs a non-for-profit in Aurora, Illinois.” Bonner, who works with Talented Tenth, a social services organization, will be discussing how to succeed in life as a person of color. Her presentation will help display the successes and accomplishments of people of color in our community in hopes to inspire OHS students to work to achieve their ambitions.

In addition to the guest speaker, members of the Black Student Association will be acknowledged for their academic achievements during the ball. Over 100 members of BSA and other students of color from OHS will have the opportunity to be noticed and commended for their honor roll achievements. 

The ball is not limited to members of the association, but instead is open to any and all OHS students who are interested in attending. There are posters placed around the school with a QR code for students to scan to purchase tickets for the ball.

“The Black Tie Event is really just to end Black History month with a bang,” Hudson says.

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My name is Natalie Raabe and I am a junior at Oswego High School. This is my first year being a part of the 42fifty team. I am involved in a variety of programs at the school including Mu Alpha Theta, SNHS, and BIONIC.


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