CCISD Students Celebrate Black History Month

CCISD Students Celebrate Black History Month
Posted on 02/28/2020
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Clear Creek ISD schools highlighted the history and contributions of African Americans throughout February in honor of Black History Month.

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According to the Library of Congress, Historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which he founded, established and celebrated the first Negro History Week in 1926 during a week in February that included the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two important figures in African American history.

It wasn’t until 1976 that President Gerald Ford expanded the celebration to an entire month and encouraged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Creekside BHM sack lunchesSchools like Clear Lake High School took time during the morning announcements throughout the month to read facts about Black History and others like Creekside Intermediate had students put together a bulletin board full of facts and trivia. Creekside Culinary Arts II students also made sack lunches decorated with Black History trivia to give away to faculty in honor of all the positive contributions African Americans have made in the culinary world.

Others invited guests into their classrooms.

Paul Fordjour is a retired psychotherapist and father to four Clear Creek High School graduates. On February 14, he visited Clear Creek to speak with Lisa Waligora’s AP Human Geography classes about the country of Ghana where he hails from.

Paul Fordjour Black History Month presentationAt Westbrook Intermediate, a couple of teachers incorporated Black History Month into their lessons.

Sixth grade Contemporary World Cultures teachers Anita Lewis and Sandra Curtis had their students write poems called “The Me I See In _____,” and the blank was filled in with a historically relevant African-American person or group. The students then read them at the T-Wolf Tuesday event on Tuesday, February 25.

“The poems are their efforts to foster an environment of citizenship, civility, and respect by illustrating the commonalities between cultures,” Lewis said.

One celebration shows what the month means on a much larger scale.

Since 2017, Clear Springs High School’s Charger Theatre has held an annual performance celebrating Black History Month during the last week in February. Clear Springs High School students of all grade levels can audition during the first week of February and according to Director Rozanne Curtis, it is a student-driven show with most of the choreography being arranged by students.

"I always ask the students for their input and what they would like to see in the production each year," she said. "I write the basic story line and we go from there.

This meaningful project that has grown throughout the years starting with a single performance in its first year to the current three performances on the last weekend in February. It involves scenes, songs, poems and dance in order to tell a story whose theme is related to Black History Month.

Clear Springs HS Black History Month performanceThough the story is different every year, Curtis says they have built some traditions into the show over the years.

“We always have an African dance somewhere in the show and we close with a song called ‘You Will Know,’” she said. “We also invite audience members to come on stage and join us in dance at the end of the show.”

Though it is rewarding for Curtis to see the fruits of the students’ hard work at the end of the month, her favorite part of the whole process happens in the rehearsals leading up to the show.

“The part I most enjoy seeing is the bonds that the students form,” she said. “They become quite close as they work together to get the production on its feet.”

Another benefit of having the students learn about their history through the production is that they can then apply that information in their core classes and reinforce those lessons.

“Last year, several students told me that they were able to talk with their history teachers about Emmett Till and his impact on the civil rights movement,” Curtis said. “The history teachers were blown away by their knowledge!”

From bulletin boards and guest speakers to sack lunches and a school-wide performance, CCISD schools recognized and honored important figures in a variety of ways this month.

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