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Essence Magazine Features Banneker HS in Tribute

When Essence magazine put out a call for readers to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Banneker High School Media & Technology Instructor Tina Criss, and CTAE Instructional Coach Ashley Dawson, saw it as a way to celebrate Black History Month by focusing on the contributions of women.

"We usually do an interactive Black History museum," Dawson said. "With the 50th anniversary of Essence magazine coming up, we decided to do an Essence Wall to highlight the women of Banneker."

Foremost in the development of the Essence Wall was the goal of letting students and staff, both male and female, see the contributions of black women. "The 50th anniversary was an opportunity to tie our project to what Essence magazine has always done, targeted black women," Dawson said. "We asked the women of Banneker, what is your essence?"

Teaming up with Criss and Dawson were instructors Jasmine Skeete and Shakirah Bryant. The Essence Wall features Banneker staffers on the magazine cover. "The Essence Wall was popular with students and staff," Criss said. "Students got involved in helping us build the project. Our Art teacher helped us create a template. The teachers sent in their own photos. Students saw teachers and the women of Banneker in a whole new light, and we were strategic in the placement. The Essence Wall is right outside the media center so you cannot miss it."

"It means so much to the Banneker High School staff and community to be recognized by such a long-standing, prestigious publication such as Essence magazine," said Dr. Jason Stamper, principal. "Furthermore, it highlights the immense talent, creativity and passion of our staff."

Banneker's Essence Wall is featured in the May/June 50th anniversary issue of Essence. "I'm excited that this is an edition that will be archived," Criss said. "This is a real, feel good moment."


Tina Criss Holds Copy of Essence at Banneker's Essence Wall

Essence magazine copy at Banneker Essence Wall

Banneker's Tina Criss and Ashley Dawson Hold Essence Magazine