J-D High School seniors presented with Kente stoles

A dozen Jamesville-DeWitt High School seniors will attend the Class of 2024 Commencement with a meaningful colorful stole. The high school’s annual Kente Cloth Ceremony was held on Saturday, June 8.

The ceremony included a welcome message from UMOJA/Kente Club Advisor Sabrina Scott, a number of performances, and Keynote Speaker Zion Alex who graduated from Jamesville-DeWitt in 2018. 2022 graduate Andrea Butler also helped with the Donning of the Kente Stoles.

A Kente stole is worn to recognize the academic and cultural achievements of graduating Black, African-American and African students and displays the colorful, intricately woven patterns of the traditional West African Kente cloth. It is traditionally worn draped over the shoulders during ceremonies to represent an accomplishment, graduation or other rite of passage. Adapted from Ghana tradition, this garment was once only worn by royalty.

The colors in the Kente cloth each hold symbolism:

    • Gold: Status/Serenity
    • Yellow: Fertility
    • Green: Renewal
    • Red: Passion
    • Black: Union with ancestors/Spiritual Awareness

To earn a Kente stole, J-D students must meet the following requirements:

    • Perform 20 hours of community service.
    • Attend at least two guest speaker presentations that are part of the Kente Club’s Sankofa Speaker Series, which includes prominent community leaders.
    • Create a personal display to be shown during the Kente ceremony highlighting their journey to graduation.

The Jamesville-DeWitt High School UMOJA/Kente Club is a long-standing right of passage program for J-D seniors. It endeavors to build unity among African-American students, others from culturally diverse backgrounds and the larger school community. Programming is designed with the intention of increasing respect for self and others and developing an understanding and appreciation for multiculturalism.

Class of 2024 Kente Club Honorees

Elbethel Berhane, Niagara University
Guet Majek, SUNY Cortland
Cadence Milligan, St. John Fisher University
Akasha Nunnally, Life University
Emeka Okereke, Cornell University
Victoria Payne, Binghamton University
Tristan Reed, University Of Buffalo
Anadia St. John, SUNY Brockport
Rashelle Torres-Mendoza, SUNY Oswego
Isabelle Vaverchak, SUNY Brockport
Karla Wade, SUNY Brockport
Stella White, SUNY Corning


J-D High School will hold its annual commencement ceremony at 12 p.m. at the Onondaga County Civic Center.