Our BCACS family is becoming more diverse, with over 30% of our students coming from underrepresented groups. This vibrant mix of cultures is a gift to our schools, but it comes with a challenge.

“It is important we treat all students with respect and provide the same opportunities,” St. Philip High School principal Vicky Groat said. “You may think you are treating people equitably when in fact you are not even close.”

BCACS leaders formed a diversity committee to help address this challenge.

“We have a diverse school, but we need to focus on the inclusion part of diversity,” said Kyra Rabbitt, St. Philip history teacher and member of the BCACS diversity committee.

The BCACS Foundation secured a Battle Creek Community Foundation grant to provided staff with diversity training.

“As a school and a foundation we need to make sure we are doing our part to make every school family truly feel a part of our BCACS family,” BCACS Foundation development director Louanne McIntyre said. “We need to look at and address how we approach equity and inclusion in our schools and our fundraising.”

Center for Diversity and Innovation instructors led the multi-day training.

“[They] challenged our staff to reflect on the history of individual and institutional racism and how to understand the lives of others in this present day,” said Beth Hutchinson, St. Joseph School institutional specialist and BCACS diversity committee member. “Our staff experienced an increased awareness of diversity and the challenge to continue and improve equity capacity-building in our schools.”

“We may not have all of the right answers when it comes to communicating and recognizing our own bias, but the diversity training was a great first step towards creating a learning environment in which everyone in our school community feels welcomed and loved,” St. Joseph School assistant-principal Katie Reed said.

The BCACS Foundation hosted a Multicultural Night on May 5th at St. Joseph to encourage greater inclusion. A diverse committee, including Marilyn Robinson, Colleen Thome, Conrado and JoEllen Campos, Miriam Vilchis, and Betty Dwe-Hein, rallied parish and school families for support.

STP Multicultural Night

Marilyn Robinson [far right] and Alejandra Lugo [second from left] are members of the diversity committee and the multicultural night committee.

“[This event] gave the Foundation and me a chance to meet some incredible advocates for our schools who I have never worked with before,” said Ben Roosevelt, BCACS Foundation vice-president and BCACS diversity committee founder. “It broke down a huge hurdle we have had in joining with fellow Christians who may not look like we do, yet have the same goals.”

BCACS families gather for a dinner featuring three unique cuisines.

Over 200 people attended the event, which included a trilingual Mass, a dinner featuring Mexican, Burmese, and Southern cuisine, a traditional Burmese dance, and a variety of games for all ages.

Burmese dancers from our parish performed at BCACS Multicultural Night.


Fr. Chris Ankley and Fr. Jose DeJesus celebrated a tri-lingual Mass on Multicultral Night.

It’s a good start, one the BCACS community intends to keep going.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements this year,” Mrs. Rabbitt said. “We’ve been more conscious about sending out communications in multiple languages, having translators at conferences, and hosting a multicultural night. We have more work to do, but I’m glad that we have started and that we are doing the work.”


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