This year, Eastside High School started their first black history program off with a bang. During social studies classes on Tuesday, students and staff members reported to the auditorium to watch the presentation.
"I thought the program went very well due to the short amount of time we had to work on it," teacher Kathy Wills said. "All of the students did an outstanding job."
Wills approached Eastside Principal Dennis Roddenberry in early February to ask him if it would be OK to take a day and honor African Americans who have shaped our nation into what it is today. After getting approval from the administration, Wills put together the Eastside Step Team and a dance group.
"I feel like we started something new today. Hopefully Eastside will continue to do more black history programs in the future," student and dancer Ameara Hamby said.
Different students spoke during the program about a wide range of events in African-American history including the slave trade, abolition and Civil Rights movement and the invention of Jazz. The students also sang and read poems.
Excerpts from speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama were read along with many other famous speeches from notable African-Americans Maya Angelou and Harriet Tubman. During a reading of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech," the step team did another performance that captivated the audience.
"I believe that we inspired a lot of people during our performance," step team member Najada Hester said.
The program ended with song from teacher Brian McRae and student Destiny Parker along with a brief history of jazz.
"It was an amazing experience," Parker said. "I enjoyed being a part of today's performance."
The principals applauded everyone's performance and plan on continuing the event in the future.
"Everyone did a tremendous job. Their time and dedication was seen through their performance today. They all deserve a round of applause," assistant principal Bruce McColumn said during the closing of the production.