SNAAP Banquet Celebrates Students, Families
The Seven Hills Network of African American Parents (SNAAP) hosted its 2021 Recognition Banquet on June 5. The banquet celebrates the students moving from fifth to sixth grade, eighth to ninth, and this year’s Upper School graduates. SNAAP committee member Cindy Jones served as the afternoon’s mistress of ceremonies. Jones opened the ceremony with a moment of silence and in memoriam for Seven Hills parents and SNAAP members Tasha Porter and Tysha Wilder. The afternoon then segued into a musical performance from Preston Bell Charles III, a welcome from SNAAP member Yoti Walker, and a musical selection from rising eighth-grader Vivian Brown. Ken Best gave the invocation before lunch, which was followed by opening remarks from Head of School Chris Garten. “Thank you all for the support you have given to our children,” Garten said. “We really are proud of the resilience and courage you’ve shown (this year).” Garten also spoke about Seven Hills’ in-depth examination of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the energy from faculty and staff surrounding the curriculum. He said he has a “sense of hope about our school community.” Following Garten’s remarks, SNAAP co-chair Kimberly Jackson presented the Tasha K. Porter Leadership Award to the Upper School’s African American Awareness Club for its achievements during the 2020-21 school year. The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Chris Lewis, vice provost for Academic Programs at the University of Cincinnati, professor of family medicine at UC, and physician at UC Health, shared words of wisdom with students and attendees. He told students not to think about what they wanted to be when they grow up, but who they want to be. Inspired by the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis said, “What are you doing for others?” SNAAP co-chair Tonya Best then presented the rising students, including Class of 2021 graduates Summer Jones, Savoy Lackey, and Riyah Vaughn; rising ninth-graders Devyn Best, Sydney Best, Evie Ferguson, Mason Griffin, Erin Jackson, Saxon Lackey, Arman Merchant, and Devan Willis; and rising sixth-graders Briana Morris and Karringtyn Wilder. The ceremony closed with words from Head of Upper School Matt Bolton, graduate reflections from Jones and Lackey, and closing remarks from Best and Jackson.