Q&A: Assistant Principal Jagga Rent, Chats about Black Student Union

Jagga Rent, current Assistant Principal at Hamilton Southeastern High School, sponsor of Black Student Union, sat down with me as we conversed about Black Student Union.

Alexis Walling

Q1: How was Black Student Union created?

“About 5 years ago, we had a student who was interested in historically black colleges. The student had invited some school representatives to come and speak. We ended up having an entire room full of students who wanted to hear about historically black colleges. At that moment, I thought ‘wow if they come together for this then I wonder if there is a desire for other topics that they are interested in.’ So, I talked to some others and we started to form Black Student Union.”

Q2: What type of events does Black Student Union participate in? 

“There are some meetings where we learn about the African-American culture. We learn about different facts and events that are from the ‘Mother Land’ as we call it. Sometimes we get together just to hang out, have social time, and eat good food. In a typical year, we try different dishes from African countries. At the end of each semester, we do a study slam, we invite teachers from every subject to come eat pizza while studying.”

Q3: In what ways, has Black Student Union impacted you?

“It has changed my life. I am extremely passionate about Black Student Union because it gives me a purpose, not just being an assistant principal here but being responsible for creating a group and creating a home for students, who don’t always feel welcome at HSE. It’s mission-driven for me.”

Q4: With the pandemic, how has Black Student Union stuck together? 

“It has been hard. We’ve had virtual meetings, hybrid meetings. However, one thing positive is that we have a mentor program with Thorpe Creek Elementary. We kicked it off this year so we created a virtual mentor program with Thorpe Creek that is going fantastic. This is something that most likely with stick after COVID-19.

Q5: What is the goal of Black Student Union?

“The main goal is to celebrate and educate about the African-American culture. We want to create a home and a safe place for students. There is one myth about our club and that is that you must be black to be in Black Student Union. That is simply not true, we’ve had members of all races in the club. We are welcome to anyone who wants to celebrate and educate the African-American culture.”