Sharing visual art, dance, music, and speeches, Shawnee Mission North students hosted their school’s 19th Black History Month program.
Students were involved with all aspects of the event, from planning to rehearsal, and the final presentation. Students in the school Harmony Club, with Natalie Johnson-Berry, English Language Arts teacher, and Bill Patterson, social studies teacher, serving as sponsors, led the process.
As one of the coordinators of the program, senior Samantha Morinville said she loves being a part of the program and enjoys working with the performers at the school who are “extremely talented.”
“There’s always a historical background for each act, that way students are also learning throughout the program,” Morinville shared. “It’s a great opportunity to shine a light on issues and raise awareness for the Black community.”
In addition to individual presentations, several school groups also performed. The Shawnee Mission North NJROTC and Jazz Band led the Presentation of the Colors and National Anthem. The Bison Dance Team shared a hip hop routine.
David Stubblefield, associate superintendent of leadership and learning, served as the event’s guest speaker. Elvis Patterson, former National Football League player, also served as a guest speaker.
Before the event ended, attendees heard a group performance of “Lean on Me.”
Johnson-Berry said she was proud of the students and what they presented. She said in the program, organizers worked to “illuminate not only the celebrations and history, but also current issues and challenges.”
“These celebrations are important, but we also want to normalize the celebrations of diverse cultures and not silo these experiences to only certain months,” she added.