Niagara County Community College and Niagara Falls City Schools were part of the statewide “Women’s Empowerment Draft” throughout the month of March. The two schools joined 24 other colleges and 30 grade schools to collectively celebrate Women’s History Month. The program, created by Alfred University’s Art Force 5, uses a pro-sports theme to build enthusiasm for historic icons.
NCCC and Niagara Street Elementary School “drafted” Dr. Bloneva Bond, an educator, business owner, social worker and community activist in Niagara County. Bond was the first Black woman elected to the Niagara Falls School Board and was a past president of the Niagara Falls Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The monthlong celebration of women ended with a ceremony. A mosaic of Bond’s portrait, designed by Art Force 5 and drawn, painted and assembled by NCCC students, faculty and staff, was unveiled. Both NCCC and NFCS board members, faculty and administration gathered to view the permanent exhibit in NCCC’s Dining Commons on the Sanborn campus.
Superintendent of Niagara Falls City Schools Mark Laurrie said, “It’s important we have these celebrations. Bloneva was a trailblazer, a pathfinder, a leader, and a strong woman who took on a lot of risks and challenges. She stood out and took on a climb that was not easy to take. We want to tell our kids that they, too, can be trailblazers and pathfinders like her.”
The celebration of Bond will continue into the summer when Niagara Street School will be renamed to the Bloneva Bond Primary School. A rededication event will take place on Aug. 30 at the school, located at 2513 Niagara St., Niagara Falls.