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Sarah Grace Champagne '24

POrter-gaud Class of 2024

Q. – What is the significance of Black History month to you? 
A. – Black History is significant to me because I feel like it is easy to overlook when it comes to history, African Americans' lives who really changed America, and in most cases, the world. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, especially, because he is the main reason why someone like me can attend this school with people of other races. And I also feel like you hear about Black History month, but a lot of people do not know how to celebrate it, because I actually heard that it is not celebrated as much in the education system as one could necessarily imagine. I think it is important for people to learn how to celebrate it, like learning about one important African American person every single day, because there are so many.

Q. – Who inspires you in the Black community? And why? Or what about them inspires you?
A. – Definitely my parents by far. They both serve in the military (Air Force) as Lieutenant Colonels, while my father will be competing for Colonel this year. When my dad pinned on Lieutenant Colonel, it almost was a shock (not really, because we believed that it would happen), but for an African American male to pin on LtCol the first go around is very rare. To be completely honest, he did not have to assimilate to the majority, for my dad to be picked immediately, really just shows that race does not necessarily matter. Excellence, period, really matters. Excellence is excellence no matter what race is involved. So onto Colonel! My mom, who is a Lieutenant Colonel as well, joined the military at the age of 18, fresh out of high school. She saved Joint Base Charleston from losing 1.5 million dollars because she helped make the air force more productive by reducing waste. She was a commander for a little while, while now she is head of diversity and inclusion for the Secretary of US Air Force. For her to pin on Lieutenant Colonel, the first go-around as well, and for her promotion to be accelerated is even rarer (than my dad’s situation, because keep in mind, my dad is still a man, so he gets leeway) because she is a black female, and you do not find black female Lieutenant Colonels (little to none). Most women, in general, leave the military at the rank of Captain, but for her to be a woman of color that remained is pretty special. What really inspires me about them, is that they did not let race present a barrier for them reaching the highest levels in their workplace.

Q. – What would you like to share about yourself?
A. – I am so excited to make a difference here at PG over the next few years that I have left!