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EHS celebrates Black History Month with special program

The contributions of African-American women to American history were highlighted during a variety show held at Eastside High School Thursday.

Students, teachers and faculty displayed their talents in the annual black history month program at the high school. This year’s theme was, "I am woman, hear me roar," which highlighted influential black women.

Students and teachers in the show sang, played instruments and recited poetry as they honored numerous African-American women who have made, and some who continue to make, a difference in the world.

Some performances during the show included a piano selection from Solange Lorde, who played "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the black national anthem written by James Weldon Johnson; several dance tributes and vocal performances by numerous students; and poetry written by Maya Angelou.

A teacher and student filled band, which included Diamond Perez, Khira Gantt, Matthew Dean, Jozie Abernathy, Jamal Hardge, and teachers Kevin Grabb and Brian McCray performed the song, “It’s a Man’s World,” by James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome.

Some of the women recognized during the event included Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first African-American in space; media mogul Oprah Winfrey; singers Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin; abolitionist Harriet Tubman; women of the Civil Rights Moment Coretta Scott King and Myrlie Evers; and many others.

Program organizer and EHS teacher Monique Mitchell said the planning for the Black History Month program and events started in September. The month of February was filled with learning about black history school-wide. However, Mitchell said this year’s program took extra effort as snow days interfered with some of the planning for the show.

“It was definitely a challenge this year,” Mitchell said. “We started planning in September, but we did not anticipate that we would have seven snow days. So that meant that we had to come back together and we had to change some things around. That meant a lot of hard work and dedication of the students. We asked the students after the last snow days did they want to do this, and they said, ‘Absolutely.’ So we made the necessary changes.”

After the program, special guests at the event, including Newton County Schools Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey, retired educators T.K. and Louise Adams, and others joined the EHS History Club for a Ladies Community Luncheon at the high school.