The Hawk Eye

School holds first Black History Month assembly

ShowTime+performed+an+African+themed+dance.+It+as+followed+by+performances+of+the+Step+Team%2C+along+with+80s+and+90s+themed+dances.
ShowTime performed an African themed dance. It as followed by performances of the Step Team, along with 80s and 90s themed dances.

ShowTime performed an African themed dance. It as followed by performances of the Step Team, along with 80s and 90s themed dances.

Photo by Tatiana Calzado

Photo by Tatiana Calzado

ShowTime performed an African themed dance. It as followed by performances of the Step Team, along with 80s and 90s themed dances.

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On Feb. 24, the school’s first Black History Month assembly was held during block lunch in the auditorium. The assembly was organized by the student council along with the help of principal Scot Finch, assistant principal Derrick Buckles and English teacher Jason Snipes.

“We had to organize and think about how we wanted to present something educational and  enjoyable at the same time,” Snipes said. “I think that’s really the goal. Black History Month isn’t just about ‘here are the black people who are special,’ it’s more about ‘here are Americans, who made a contribution which is overlooked.’”

The assembly consisted of performances from the step team “ShowTime,” JROTC, orchestra and choir. Poetry on black history was also read, along with informational slideshows highlighting important African Americans throughout the assembly.

“It’s been a cross organization to put this all together,” Snipes said. “I mean everybody we could reach out to, we wanted to be a part of it. Because it is a celebration of us, all of us.”

This was the school’s first year putting on a Black History Month assembly, and Snipes said he hopes this will become an annual event.

“From what I can gather, we just never had a group of people to really come together and organize [an assembly],” Snipes said. “This year it’s really been people reaching out to me and me reaching out to other people to get this thing together. It’s been a group effort. I think maybe that’s what’s been lacking before. Maybe no one saw the need for it or had the concept to do it. I think maybe what changed is the focus and the idea of this is a way of how we can celebrate black history.”

Snipes was able to bring in a guest speaker, Pastor and activist Dr. Michael Waters, who said he hopes his message had resonated with the students.

“I hope that the students have learned that black history is truly American history,” Waters said. “We must continue to celebrate our races and ethnicity in this nation, because as a nation of immigrants, it is our corporate experience that makes us strong.”

The assembly lasted the entire block lunch and about 20 minutes into third period. Approximately 600 students attended the assembly. Junior Anthony Defreece said this was a good experience.

“It was a good opportunity to learn about African American history,” Defreece said. “I like how [the assembly] was demonstrated, that African American history is the history of America through all people together, and how we progress as a nation.”

The overall goal of the assembly, according to Snipes, was to simply raise awareness to the students and help make a difference.

“Racism is still a real issue, segregation is still a very real issue,” Snipes said. “Discrimination against women, against all different groups and against religion is still an issue. I think this is a chance for students to engage and ask those questions of wanting to do something about. I do hope the end game is that we become more educated, we become more aware and we become more active as a resort. Not that we just acknowledge in injustices or indifferences, but that we do something about it.”

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