Valuing Diversity at St. X
At St. X we are committed to valuing Diversity in our students, administration, faculty and staff by respecting and celebrating their unique backgrounds, experiences and perspectives which will ultimately shape the inclusive environment that will make us better. We embrace it as a core value and continuously seek ways to learn, grow and transform. Treating everyone with dignity and respect is most important to our leadership, to each other and, to our students and families.
The graduating class of 2020 was St. X's most diverse class in school history. Of the 22 graduation award winners, 50% were multicultural (7 Asian, 2 African American and 2 Hispanic).
6.50% African American
In 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first African American students at St. Xavier, we produced this documentary, "X-Changes. 50 Years of Racial Diversity.”
The school wanted to tell the compelling story of the challenges those first student pioneers met during the early 1960's. Bright Light Visual Communication created the documentary. Bright Light's Executive Producer/Director and St. X alum, Ryan C. Spalazzi ('95) spent two days capturing on camera interviews with former students and faculty and one day of shooting B-Roll at the school. "Giving back is one thing, but having the opportunity to sit down with fascinating individuals and being able to dig deep into emotions that were felt over 50 years ago was a moving experience," Spalazzi said.
Bright Light's David Allison edited the visuals into a moving and motivational documentary celebrating the pioneers who laid the foundation to make St. X the school that it is today. Then St. Xavier President, Fr. Timothy Howe, S.J. observed that "a story this good will go a long way toward showing our most important benefactors the good work their gifts are doing for the school and may well compel some of them to help even more." The Telly Awards named Bright Light Visual Communications as a Bronze winner in the 33rd Annual Telly Awards for the documentary.
Congratulations to Alex Gansler '22 and Benjamin Trujillo '22 who were named by the College Board as National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars!
Our Hands Across Campus Core Team kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month with Judge Marilyn Zayas, the first Hispanic Appellate Court District Judge in the region. She spoke with our students about her life story, which originated in the Washington Heights section of New York, and her current position and succeeding despite the challenges. Our students were engaging and appreciative of her presence. We finished off the session with a group photo and the ever popular cultural delicacy, Churros. There will also be weekly Hispanic Heritage Facts starting Friday through October 15th over the PA in homeroom and a Hispanic Heritage Month artist display courtesy of our Fine Arts Department and Eric Brass.
Did you know? The observation of National Hispanic Heritage Month actually started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. In the decades since, National Hispanic Heritage Month proclamations have been made by every sitting president of the United States.
The timing of Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of several Latin American nations. September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.
The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.
As part of our Native American Heritage Month, Eric Brass and the Fine Arts Department has curated some notable Native American Artist and their stories. While you may not associate Native Americans and art together, there is no doubt the patterns and fabrics the have created are constantly woven into fashion around the world.
Also, as part of our Native American Heritage Month observance, Ethan McCoy, Class of ’22 shared his experience on a mission trip to the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. He enlightened his fellow students on the cultural conversations, learnings, and gratitude from which he benefitted greatly. In addition to Ethan’s presentation St. Xavier is currently displaying Native American Artists and some of their works throughout the school, and signage in observance of Native American Heritage Month.
We salute and recognize all our Native Americans in our community…
November marks Black Catholic History Month for the Catholic Church in the US. This tradition began in 1990 thanks to the advocacy work of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, a group of priests who first met in 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A few things going on here at St. X to honor the long history of Black Catholics in the US (historian Cyprian Davis has traced the presence of Black Catholics here back to the early 1500s).
- Nine consecutive day Novena led by Deacon Royce Winters entitled “Standing on the Shoulders of Our Ancestors: Celebrating Black Catholic History.”
- Each Monday this month, a student or faculty/staff member will share a brief story over the PA. These stories were compiled for Black Catholic History Month by the Office of Black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington DC.
- Selections from the Jesus Mafa art initiative can be found around school this month.
Wayne Miller, St. Xavier Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion said, "As you know we not only ushered in a new President and administration this week but celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s hard to believe Dr. King would have been 92 years old this year, but it’s also disheartening to see how his fight for Civil Rights is still necessary to this day."
He continued, "Our Hands Across Campus Core team wanted to capture the essence of Dr. King’s dream in their own words and I am very proud of their sincerity to express those dreams with you. You’ll soon realize they’re aligned with Dr. King and our Ignatian values." Inspired by Dr. King, Ryan King, '22 said, "I have a dream that unity will prevail over polarity"
Guest speaker, Coley Harvey of Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network offered a message to persevere with 'energy and empathy'. President Tim Reilly '76, encouraged students to be "Men for the excluded, men for the marginalized, men for others", in the Jesuit tradition. The presentation concluded with an emotional song by Harry Bonner '72 with his family. Their stirring rendition of "I am Here" inspired the students with the power of their voices.
Click the picture for the presentation
This year we celebrated Black History Month with our display cases in the main lobby, the daily reading of Black History Month facts and playing culturally relevant music on Fridays. In addition, we developed posters for faculty and staff to share in their offices and common areas and displayed signage on our monitors along with our social media postings. However, this was the inaugural year of the St. X Black History Month T-shirt. The design was created as a collaboration of students in the art department and the Hands Across Campus Core Team. The t-shirt design was that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the Ignatian values woven into his interlocking fingers.
Lastly, our students were invited to attend a cultural conversation with WLWT News Five’s Award-Winning Anchor Courtis Fuller on Black Males and career pursuit as part of our “Black Out” Spirit Day. https://vimeo.com/517538824
St. X was later featured on the 5:30pm newscast on how to successfully have school year-around. Click here to see.
This March, St. X was proud to celebrate National Women’s History Month. We want to create a culture that is inclusive, respectful and non-prejudiced. Having a gender-diverse workforce is a recipe for success.
This May St. X was proud to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a full display of Asian American culture, heritage and graduates of St. X along with notable Asian and Pacific Americans in our main lobby and other area display cases. To culminate the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month our students were privy to a powerful documentary produced by St. X Alum Mario Lathan, class of ’94 on the life of Mike Adachi and his Family. Mike was St. X’s first Japanese American Graduate in ‘62.
Multicultural Senior Deliveries
This year, the multicultural seniors were gifted with a St. X engraved USB powerbank and a poster with all of the graduating seniors listed.