JACKSON – One of Sister Bowman’s most enduring legacies is in education. Her impact as a teacher was so great that a number of schools bear her name, including one in Jackson.
Shae Robinson, principal at that school, said hearing Sister Bowman speak in the late 1980s still drives her mission in education today. “Her presence was just like the song ‘This Little Light of Mine.’ She had a glow about her. It was like she was a flame that would never go out,” said Robinson.
At the revival Robinson attended, “She talked about how each person lives their life through other people and to make sure you give it your all, that you portray the love you have when you work with others. Don’t let that light go out,” said Robinson.
She said those who went to a Sister Bowman gathering were not spectators. “There was complete audience participation. You felt like you were a part of it, like Sister Thea was speaking directly to you,” she said.
Robinson applies Sister Bowman’s message and her style of using song, dance and story to the mission of the school. “We say this is a school where students excel and prophets are formed. As a prophet, you take the Word and you go out and live that. You have to portray your service, your respect for others and you have to use your God-given talents,” she said.
The students have been preparing a Black History Month program honoring Sister Bowman since early this year. The play, ‘This Little Light of Mine,’ had to be postponed twice because of bad weather, but is now set for Thursday, March 26, at 6:15 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Christ the King.
Students and teachers worked together to make an anagram out the name Thea Bowman. Each letter represents a different African American figure. The characters include poets, scholars, civil rights leaders, writers and more. The students will incorporate song, dance and their own talents into telling the story of Sister Bowman and connecting it to those who have worked to ensure the dignity and rights of others.
Robinson said the program is just one way the staff makes sure the students know Sister Bowman so they can live out her message.
The principal said one of the most inspirational things about Sister Bowman was how she handled her illness and impending death.
“She was in so much pain, but she was still getting out there, seeing people, meeting people. She made you feel like you were her own child,” she said.
“She knew where her home was. How many of us can say I really, truly know and I’m ready to go home?”.
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