Recent News from Matignon High School
Students attend W.E.B Du Bois Medal Ceremony
October 28, 2019
by William C '2021
On October 22nd, 2019 The Hutchins Center Harvard hosted the 7th annual W.E.B Du Bois Medal Ceremony at Sanders Theatre in Memorial Hall. 10 Matignon Students and Mr. Obuchowski attended the event on behalf of Matignon’s Student of Color Association, SOCA. The W.E.B Du Bois Medal is named after William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, an African American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, and Harvard Graduate. The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research aims to provide a forum for collaboration and ongoing exchange of ideas. The W.E.B Du Bois Research Institute, originally the W.E.B Du Bois Institute for Afro-Latin Research, is a major program run by the Hutchins Center which has accomplished great works for African and African American studies already. The W.E.B Du Bois Medal is awarded to those who make major contributions to African and African American Culture and Studies. This year’s recipients included Poets Elizabeth Alexander and Rita Dove, Historian Lonnie G. Bunch III, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, artist, Kerry James, Chemical Engineer, and CEO Robert F. Smith, and Rapper and Actress, Queen Latifah.
The Ceremony consisted of a series of speeches introducing the recipients and acceptance speeches intermingled with readings from Du Bois’ writing and with performances from the Kuumba Singers at the start and end of the ceremony. The speakers were nothing less than charismatic, intelligent, and inspiring. The recipients’ various accomplishments spanned many fields of study, but all of them were alike in the fact that they made huge impacts in African or African American culture whether it be through art, education, social justice. Each recipient’s speech began with a humble statement of gratitude to be presented with such an honor, but the real heart and soul were the personal anecdotes that they shared about their journeys to success. Co-President of SOCA, Shania Rimpel had this to say about the event, “The event instilled a greater amount of pride in my culture when surrounded by all these great minds. Although my race can be seen as a barrier, it encourages me and gives me the strength to work harder.” Many of the other members of SOCA agreed that the speakers were exemplary scholars and people giving students of all backgrounds, especially racial minorities, hope that they can achieve great things. To sum up the event, this quote from SOCA member Ashton Bonano does it well “Black Excellence”.