Northeast Highschool MLK Day
Kansas City Public Schools’ Northeast High School celebrated
Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a program and presentation from faculty members and local Black leaders.

By Abby Hoover

Faculty at Northeast High School, one of the Kansas City Public Schools’ (KCPS) most diverse student bodies, are planning cultural luncheons for students, parents and guardians, and alumni.

The school will provide food, schedule performances, and hold a raffle at the free events.

Currently the school is looking for local restaurants to donate or purchase food from according to the theme of the luncheon, as well as volunteer performers or people who would like to have a table display and talk about their country.

“Family engagement and involvement are essential in any child’s education,” said Melvin Brown, Parent and Community Involvement Liaison.

The first event, a Black History Luncheon, is on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

“We will be having a Black History Luncheon as a way to engage our families,” Vice Principal Dr. Keyona Powell said. “It’ll be during the school day, and it is going to be a Black history program that’ll be presented to the parents… It’ll likely be some artwork displayed from the arts department, and possibly like songs from the choir department and just the main focus on it is the parents right now. We want to bring them in, let them see what their students are doing, showcase and give them some good food.”

Powell said the best part for her, when looking at student engagement, is the fact that they are able to learn from the other students that are not like them, which is going to make them able to better socialize when they get out of high school.

“So in the same line with Black History Month, we’re also going to have, at the end of February because it’s also Asian History Month, an Asian Heritage Celebration, another luncheon, same type of theme and then we’ll do it again for March for Hispanic heritage. So that’s just three that are going on right now.”

The Asian Heritage Luncheon will be on Monday, Feb. 28, and the Hispanic Heritage Luncheon will be on Thursday, March 11.

The school celebrated Martin Luther King Day with parents, guardians, alumni and students in January.

“The main focus on that was to build engagement to have parents come to the school, not for any other reason, but to engage, to socialize, to see what’s going on and to be a part of the school community,” Powell said. “So it’s not focused on academics. It’s not focused on behavior or discipline. It’s specifically focused on, ‘You’re part of this community, come celebrate.’”

Powell said at back to school nights and Title I events, they’ve definitely seen an improvement in parent engagement.

“But we just want to try something new because the time slots that we were picking after school weren’t getting as much action as we wanted,” Powell said. “So that’s why we’re trying this luncheon series to see if we can bring in more parents.”

The school will also host a Student Honor Recognition Luncheon on Wednesday, March 16  and an Athletic Scholars Recognition Luncheon on Wednesday, March 30.

Parents, guardians and alumni should RSVP, and if they would like more information, they are encouraged to call and leave a message with their name, date(s) they are coming, and phone number at 816-418-3316 or email Brown at Those interested in donating or volunteering at the event should also contact Brown.