To our Black men on staff at Rauner,
We believe that our Black boys at Rauner College Prep are brilliant. We believe they are talented and have big, beautiful dreams for their futures.
Society and media often portrays a different narrative for our Black boys – one that represents them as aggressive and apathetic regarding their future and purpose.
We know this isn’t a true story.
At Rauner College Prep, we have been working to improve the experience of our Black boys because we believe that, when we create environments that affirm their brilliance and provide safe space for them to show up as their authentic selves, it positively impacts our entire school community.
This school year, we hosted Black Boy Joy in the fall – an event for our Black boys to connect and celebrate together. This semester, we held our Black Boys Heal: See Me, Hear Me event, a space to bring awareness to the mental health of our Black boys and men.
But, we can’t forget some valuable key members in our community that have definitely impacted our Black boys at Rauner.
You — our Black male educators…
To Mr. Cattouse, Mr. Baymon and Mr. Banks: You bring strength to the building. You make taking care of your physical body just as important as taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally. You remind Black boys that emotion is masculine. You remind Black girls that strength is beautiful. You remind the RCP community that working hard for something is the most rewarding gift you can give yourself. To see how you are all so willing to invest in our students is a constant reminder that the strength of a Black man is deeply rooted in the rarest kind of love. Thank you! We see your wisdom and your selflessness!
To Mr. Jones, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Flechs, Mr. Resonno, Mr. Rashad, and Mr. Hudson: You remind us that someone is always in our corner rooting us on. You remind us that our education opens doors. You remind us that excuses hold us back, but perseverance enables us to be whoever we want. Thank you for giving our Black and Brown boys an example of what real Black excellence looks like. We see your strength and your endurance!
To Mr. Render, Mr. LaBauex, and Mr. Brown: Thank you for always being willing to listen and to give advice. You bring smiles to many faces. Your presence in the hallways is always welcoming. Thank you for joining the Rauner community and being leaders in the change to improve the experiences our Black boys have in school. We see your love and your support.
Being a Black man in America is hard enough in itself. You all chose to be Black men that want to see change. You wake up every day and choose to have an impact on the future of Black children. We want you to know that we see you and we are grateful for your life, your presence, and your patience with our students.
Lastly, to all the Black men who are interested in being educators or working to become educators, we asked our Black male staff why they are proud of who they are and what they do to encourage you in your journey: