3rd grader Starr Uwoghiren was especially excited for school on the morning of the Elementary School Black History Showcase. Not only was she emceeing the show, but she would be officiating the assembly in her traditional Ghanaian gown. “I wanted to wear it because I wanted to show people how it’s beautiful to be African,” she said. The assembly included singing, dancing and a recital of poems. Starr said her teachers didn’t just teach her facts and figures; they emphasized that she is beautiful as she is and that she comes from a profoundly beautiful culture. She said the biggest takeaway for her is the idea of “flexin’ in your complexion.” “Learning about Black History is so important because we need to know what people have been through,” she said, “and now we can go out and change the world and build good things.”
In the middle school this year they focused on black women who have shaped history with the theme “Legends… Past, Present and Future: Celebrating, Women of Color in the Arts”. At the showcase, students paid tribute to women of color who mean the most to them. One of the most moving moments came when 8th grader, Shaideed Grant read a poem he wrote to his mom. “Even if I want to give up, she makes sure I do great,” he read. “Mom, this one’s for you and all the things you do. You say, ‘never give up don’t do this for me, be successful for you.’” His poem was met with a massive applause from students and teachers. Shaideed’s mom said he did a reading of the poem for her and she was so moved it brought tears to her eyes.
In the high school, 11th grader Iyana Providence was another student who delivered another moving performance. Iyana felt that Black History Month at Hyde gave her the opportunity to illustrate (and take her peers on a journey of) black female empowerment, through dance. She choreographed a piece that exemplified black women’s history while incorporating moments from her own life, through contemporary dance. Iyana felt she owed it to her community, her family and her friends to illustrate black history, the fact that it is currently being made, and that she can have a hand in making that history.