All things Africa came to one place with The Banin Experience, a house concert for Grand Rapids Public Schools teachers and staff recently held at GRPS University, 1400 Fuller Ave. NE. The evening was presented by Motherland Cultural Connections of Grand Rapids, which aims to “bridge the cultural divide between Africans and the rest of the world.”
The event gave two dozen guests a literal taste of Africa with a three-course meal, as well as poetry, a presentation on an African country and dancing to African music. It also provided GRPS staff a better and more nuanced understanding of where their students come from, why they behave the way they do, and how to better connect and relate with them. Banin is a Lamnso word spoken in Cameroon, West Africa, which means “come together.”
Dianne Carroll Burdick has worked as a photojournalist in the West Michigan area since 1991. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she has photographed for The Grand Rapids Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Detroit Free Press, Advance Newspapers, Grand Rapids Magazine, BLUE Magazine and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting and thought provoking stories of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2016.
In celebration of our 10th Anniversary, your School News Network team will bring you a wide variety of stories that tie to the decade – like the one here. We’ll re-publish each school district’s first stories and update engaging profiles of students and educators. Additional stories will highlight a decade of change in schools and public education.
School News Network reports on the 20 public school districts in Kent County, which enroll more than 90,000 students. Founded in 2013, we are an editorially independent news site funded by Kent ISD, local districts and community sponsors, and powered by an experienced team of reporters, editors and photojournalists. We specialize in covering classroom teaching and learning, analyzing the many issues that enhance or discourage student success, and highlighting the education magic that happens each day in our public schools.