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Black History Month at BC

Filed in Archive, District by on February 5, 2020

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At Bethlehem Central High School this week, students and staff kicked off Black History Month with something unexpected. Student leaders and their faculty advisors have been working for several months to deliver a month-long history lesson the BC community can see, hear, taste and feel. Part reflection, part celebration, the schoolwide effort is also intended to spur important classroom conversations regarding race, culture and respect for one another.

Guest speaker Richard Haynes, the Associate Director for Diversity at the University of New Hampshire, traveled to BC on Monday, Feb. 3 where he spoke to students and staff during the day about the power of education on his own life and on the lives of the students he works with. Teacher Kaaren Caron and her fellow musicians filled the halls of the high school Monday morning with the sounds of African drumming and returned to the middle school Monday night with a larger ensemble from Gomni African Drumming. The music group greeted parents and community members who filled the auditorium to hear Haynes speak. There he described how education was his inspiration and a path to a promising future. He also shared the many challenges he faced — including poverty and racism — as he made his way from the rural fields of the Deep South to Harlem and eventually to the ivy-covered halls of UNH.

At the high school on Tuesday, Feb. 4, students and staff were greeted with the sounds of jazz in the BC Commons. Southern specialties were available at lunch thanks to visiting chef Kizzy Williams, owner of Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen in Albany. Williams joined the school’s food service team in the morning to prepare a soul food-inspired menu for students and later in the day, made her way to the Family and Consumer Science (FACS) classroom of Maria Hayes to share her skills with students there.

“We are thrilled with the support, excitement, and celebration of Black History Month or African American History Month at BC this year,” said Dr. Lisa Carr, a school counselor who coordinated many of the events. “Students have an opportunity to experience music, art, food, listen to lectures, and share stories of hope while they reflect on and increase awareness of the numerous contributions African Americans have made to history.”

Many thanks to the Social Studies Department, Art Department, Music Department, Food Service staff, Culinary Arts class, Gomni African Drumming group, school counselor Dr. Lisa Carr and student leaders from ALANA (African American, Latinx, Asian American, Native American, and Allies), SPAS (Students for Peace & Survival), Guerilla Art Club and Thinking Reed for their efforts in organizing BC’s Black History Month activities.