Quick Nav

Encouraging Speaker at Immaculata

Black History Month Speaker Encourages Immaculata Students to ‘Live a Life That Is Fortifying and Fun’
Posted on 02/23/2024

SOMERVILLE, N.J., FEBRUARY 23, 2024 – Renowned educator and motivational speaker Audrey Davis-Dunning brought her infectious love of West African dance and music to Immaculata High School as part of the school’s celebration of Black History Month. The lively assembly, “The Basics, Beauty & Power of African Dance,” was attended by the entire student body. With help from school moderators and Piscataway residents Shawanna Eugene and Issac Howard, the event was organized by seniors Ivy Kyalo of Bound Brook and Maya Mathews of Somerset, student leaders of the school’s Black Student Union.

The school’s Black Student Union mission embraces the tenets of Immaculata’s pillars of Faith, Scholarship, Service and Friendship by “empowering, inspiring and acknowledging African American students and promoting unity and awareness about their culture.” 

“Our hope was to give our friends and teachers an experience of the rich culture of West Africa in a fun and lighthearted way,” said Mathews. Kyalo added that Davis-Dunning and the other performers brought that experience to life through a lively program of dance, music and direct engagement with the student body. “The entire assembly was so much fun and I really enjoyed being able to share this experience with my classmates,” she said. 

Davis-Dunning, a graduate of Cornell University, has mentored hundreds of students through her academic career, and has served as a teaching artist at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and other performing venues. 

Students who attended the program agreed that it was inspiring on both artistic and motivational levels. Freshman Madison Lachac of Flemington found the assembly to be filled with joy, and she especially appreciated that the event “exposed more people to the beauty and animation of African dancing and drumming.” She said, “By recognizing the larger significance of many cultures and backgrounds, Immaculata encourages great unity among the students.” 

Immaculata High School, founded in Somerville in 1962, is a coeducational Catholic high school serving students from the greater Somerville area. Along with Immaculate Conception School, which serves students in grades PreK through 8, it fulfills the educational mission of Immaculate Conception Parish to offer Christ-centered educational opportunities meeting the highest academic standards. For more information, visit www.immaculatahighschool.org.