African Leadership Committee

Perry Township creates a program to involve more representation


Skylar Greulich

The Perry Township African Leadership Council met up on Dec. 9 to discuss how to create more seen diversity. They also had presentations.

A new council to help students and their families from Africa has been placed. Currently, there are 74 students from four different countries in Africa including Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda. 

Trying to communicate with a community outside of the school can also be another additional challenge. Due to these disadvantages, Perry Township started the Perry Township African Leadership Council, also known as Perry TALC. Their first meeting was held on Nov. 11. They meet once a month at SHS. 

The council’s main objective is to get multiple perspectives of the African community through their shared knowledge. It also hopes to bring a much deeper understanding of how Perry Township’s schools function and use their guide policy, that can be found in the student handbook, when responding to the growing population from Africa. 

“That’s just beneficial for everyone,” Associate Principal Amy Boone said. 

Sophomore Shamim Kabagenyi, District interpreter Kalenga Juma, and EL administrator Lisa Netsch write their ideas for the new program on Dec. 9. The council had separated into multiple groups. (Skylar Greulich)

Boone had heard about the program through EL department director Lisa Netsch. They worked together last year for a Latino mentorship program. Netsch told her that she had been wanting to do something for the African population at SHS. 

Netsch, who has served in the district EL department for the last eight years at SHS, says that in a meeting with the district office, talk of the program came up when discussing the growing population of African students. There were some needs that needed to be met, as well as some miscommunication with the community and parents. 

To help with these needs, a council of currently twenty members were put together. There are five students, five parents, five community members and various school leaders and educators. Although bringing people together to form the council was not hard, finding a good schedule and place for everyone was. Finding a way to incorporate the meetings into student’s schedules was difficult.       

“We have equal understanding and communication from both Perry Township Schools and the leadership and teachers in the township,” Netsch said. “As well as community members, parents and students so that we can come together and learn from one another.” 

One of the students in the council is sophomore Francois Kiyana. 

Kiyana had been recommended for the program by Patrick Mulwale, one of the translators at SHS. He attends the monthly meetings to discuss what to do and what to help students of the African community. 

Although the council’s program has its own goal, Kiyana has his own personal objective he wants to achieve.

“I see a lot of kids failing, kids that are not friends with and I kind of want to help them,” Kiyana said. 

Sophomores Francois Kiyana, Louise Kasongo, and Dean Chris Finkhouse are choosing what morals are important on Dec. 9. There was a slide presentation earlier that sparked this activity. (Skylar Greulich)