The Knights of Peter Claver Ladies’ Auxiliary, Monsignor Walter Darcy Court #335, presented a dynamic virtual event, “Hear Our Voices on the Coronavirus Pandemic”, on Saturday, August 28. The event provided the opportunity for middle-school and high-school students in the Jacksonville area to share how the pandemic has impacted them mentally, spiritually, physically, and socially. The students’ responses illuminated how, despite the pandemic’s devastating effects, they have maintained resilience, steadfastness, and faith.
The event was moderated by Knight Rahman Johnson, professor of the year at Edward Waters University, radio personality and former Nickelodeon star, who helped enliven the event with his high-energy showmanship and excellent interpersonal skills.
Participating students came from Guardian Catholic School, Bishop Kenny and Bishop John Snyder high schools, Bolles, Episcopal, Lakeside McDonough, Ga., Jean Ribault, Terry Parker, and Edward H. White high schools, and the I’m A Star Foundation, Inc.
The event, which also included a tribute to the local youths who have passed away due to COVID or other causes, was funded by donations from the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary Court #335, I’m A Star Foundation, Inc., the Jacksonville COVID Task Force, and several individual in-kind and monetary donations. Students received personalized “snack packs” containing comfort snacks and anti-stress-related items. They enjoyed several calming videos embedded into the event, answered important and personal pandemic-related trivia questions, and were rewarded lovely door prizes.
The committee members who organized the event are Lady Erskerline Favors, chairperson; Janice Hice, co-chairperson, Grand Lady Claudine Pannell-Goodlett; Vice Grand Lady Mary George-Flournoy, Area Deputy Padrica Mendez, and Lady Emily Massengale-Morton.
A committed and dedicated group of professional panelists included: Father Bernardine Eikhuemelo of the Tri-Parish Catholic Churches; Grant Jones, national executive director of the Knights of Peter Claver; Honorable Angie Nixon, representative for District 10; Betty Burney, CEO of the I’m A Star Foundation; Sergeant Shawnecsi Barber of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office; Jill Hill of the Partnership for Child Health; Erika Nisbett, defense attorney; Deborah Perron, Duval County public schools social worker (Retired); Robert Lewis, of the Jacksonville Electric Authority; Tracy Bryant of GuardianCatholic School; Minister Patricia Warren and Lady Marguerite Warren, both retired counselors with Duval County Public Schools. Several non-participating students and professionals also provided stimulating questions for participating students.