An open door: NHS’s Black Student Union receives the largest grant ever awarded by the Noblesville Schools Education Foundation


BSU students received their grant check from the Noblesville Schools Education Foundation on April 23rd. This is the largest grant that the NSEF has ever given.

Ian Pigors and Analyce Craft

The Friday afternoon sun beats down on the smiling faces of a crowd of people, where joyous hands pass an abnormally large check between giver and recipient. For the onlooker, perhaps this is just another awards ceremony, but for the NHS Black Student Union, a club only recently formed three years ago, this check opens a doorway of opportunity.

April 23rd marked the day that the Noblesville Schools Education Foundation (NSEF) awarded the Black Student Union a $5,000 grant, the largest award ever given by the Foundation. However, for members of the group, the money was only part of a bigger push at NHS for racial inclusion.

“It’s super important to us because we’re all a part of Noblesville High School,” said NHS principal Craig McCaffrey. “I want every student who comes in the building to feel like it’s a place they belong and that it’s their school.”

Members of BSU are working to make those words a reality through their efforts everyday to build a more inclusive environment.

“NHS has changed, I think, because now Black students have a place to go where they can feel comfortable and share their ideas, while also helping their fellow students and community,” BSU member sophomore Zeniya Soro said.

“The NSEF Grants Committee reviewed all of our applications, and we actually knew that the Black Student Union proposal was really cool and had a lot of potential, so we invited them to do a presentation,” NSEF Executive Director Adriann Young said.

The grant is just the start of turning the many ideas that the students worked so hard on into action.

“With the grant, there’s some opportunities for programs that the students really want to do, like Black Film Nights, so we can engage a lot of different people who may not even know about the BSU,” said organization sponsor Akwete Purifoy. “We also want to do a block party or community event, just to get their names and faces out there.”

Engagement has been a focus of the BSU, with some efforts being focused on programs like scholarship opportunities for young Black students.

“I definitely think that this grant will kick start the BSU’s success,” said Young. “They’re already young as an organization, and they really needed that kind of confidence and investment to take their ideas and visions to the next level.”

And with those visions, the Black Student Union isn’t planning on slowing down. Efforts are being made to give Black students more academic opportunities.

“This year was the first year we were able to give a scholarship away. We were really excited because it was the first time we’ve ever had a major scholarship for Black students or students who identify as a minority,” said Purifoy. “We had one recipient this year, and every year we should be able to continue the BSU scholarship.”

BSU members and organizers say that growth continues to be an important goal within the group, dating back to the organization’s founding in the 2018-2019 school year.

“I think that that organization being successful and growing within the school will only help students of color have a place to belong and have celebration,” said Young. “ want them to celebrate their culture and what being Black means to them.”

With all this talk of change, if anyone is wondering, “What can I do to help the Black Student Union?” Soro has an answer.

“I think what they can do is encourage unity, and stand by our side rather than speaking for us,” Soro said. “Through unity we can work together to create a better environment for all people, as well as breed new ideas that can benefit us.”