On Feb. 27, the school hosted a Black History Month celebration in the Commons to honor and celebrate the past achievements of black people and to bring awareness to the achievements of black people in the world.
Around 30 students participated in the program, performing in front of an audience of over 100 of their peers, family members, and the school’s staff members. “There was a good turnout. People were standing because there weren’t enough seats,” English teacher Kristen Haynes said.
Performances included a chorus performance, a duet, a solo, dances, speeches and poems. Along with seven other teachers, Haynes was a part of the planning committee for this event. She was in charge of all the musical performances and used her role as an opportunity to “expand people’s perception of being African American,” Haynes said.
Freshman Rhoda Ndjoukouo participated in two separate acts in this program. Ndjoukuou performed a dance to a black gospel song, and she also sang the black anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, with a group of girls. “I feel like doing these small activities, for example singing, dancing, and doing speeches, can touch people’s hearts,” Ndjoukuou said.
This program was planned and rehearsed to ensure each participant’s voice was heard and to promote and spread awareness of black culture and history. “Black History Month is something important and something that we all should be aware of,” Ndjoukuou said.
This year was the school’s fourth year hosting this celebration, and in past years the program consisted of similar performances. Last year, sophomore Kadian Griffin read a poem in front of her peers, family, teachers and administrators. “I couldn’t go this year, but I was really happy I got to honor black history by reading a poem at last year’s celebration,” Griffin said.
In an effort to advocate for Black History Month and encourage students to attend the school’s celebration, the school’s TV internship program devoted a couple minutes each morning to talk about influential black people and to give black students a place to share their views on what black history means to them. “Black History Month gives us time to reflect on everything African Americans have done in the past,” sophomore Noah Bezzam said.
Next year, there will be a Black History Month celebration again, giving students another chance to share their talents and increase awareness of black history. The number of people who attend this event has increased over the past four years as members of the community become more aware of Black History Month and the impact this program has. “Hopefully next year we will need to use the auditorium because we will have an even bigger turnout,” Haynes said.