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Black History Month Offers Opportunities for Learning and Expression at Detroit Enterprise Academy

The celebration of Black History Month produced art, lessons, and new understandings of inspirational figures for many students within NHA. Schools created written reports, held door decorating competitions, living wax museums, and interacted with graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
 
Here’s a round-up of submissions from schools that created special moments:
 

Detroit Enterprise (Michigan)
Carmen Piggins, a 3rd grade teacher at Detroit Enterprise, reached out to contacts for a special interaction for her students: Discussions with graduates of HBCUs.
 
“The students have loved getting to speak with people from around the country who attended and graduated from HBCUs,” Piggins said. “They have asked great questions about courage, perseverance, and opportunities HBCUs provided their alums.
 
The speakers work as teachers, business owners, engineers, and traveling nurses, just to name a few. They included:
  • Kristin Brown — Kentucky State University (Detroit Enterprise Academy’s music teacher)
  • David Thomas — North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • Quiana Smith — North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • Terri O’Neal — Spelman College
  • Je’Coven Norwood — Howard University
  • Y’Mine McClanahan — Southern University
Students got to learn about the academic opportunities, notable alumni, service opportunities, the Divine 9, marching bands, and homecoming. Several alumni even taught the students chants used during football games and events.
 
 “As the students were working on their projects, they were so excited to meet alumni that had attended those universities,” Piggins said. “They loved learning about all of the activities they were able to participate in and the jobs they have now.”
 
Each student researched an HBCU then completed either a written report, video, poster, or brochure to present in class.
 
 

Plymouth Scholars (Michigan)
Plymouth Scholars has a social studies committee which presented a slide at each morning’s assembly in February showcasing an important activist in the Black community.
 
Each classroom was provided with different library books, daily quotes to review and project, reading passages and coloring pages for morning work and additional books to read for the month’s Moral Focus of Courage.
 


Winterville (North Carolina)
Teachers and scholars at Winterville highlighted Black authors, leaders, and people who have shown courage throughout history in hallway displays for all to see.

Students also submitted personalized statements to be displayed with three points to answer:
 
I AM _____.
WE ARE _____.
BLACK IS _____.
 
Students added a variety of descriptors: important, astonishing, beautiful, Black, strong, all equal, a gift, and family.
 
 
Detroit Enterprise (Michigan)
Detroit Enterprise also created a video to present their Black History Month projects, which included 8th grade student Demarick Zachery delivering an essay about the history of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which began as a poem written by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900. Instructional Para Coletta Mackie, 6-8th grade Language Arts Teacher Carlisa Moffett, and Music Teacher Kristin Brown performed “Lift Every Voice” with musical accompaniment.
 
The DEA Pom Pom squad performed two dances with the first paying “Homage to the Motherland.”
 
Scholar Keysi Guiterrez introduced information about the book “Freedom Congo Square” by Carole Boston and Brown led a class through the book with singing and drum playing.
 
Artwork from multiple grades was displayed while history projects and essays about Black leaders were recorded as well.
 

Pembroke (Michigan)
 
Decorating doors with HBCU themes during Black History Month is a tradition at Pembroke, started by principal Stephanie Glenn in the first school year, 2018-19. Each year the three best doors are chosen as winners.
 
This year’s winners:
  • Kindergarten teacher Alyssa Cupit for her Howard University door.
  • 2nd grade teacher Stevie Von Seeger for her Virginia State University door.
  • Middle school ELA teacher Sherline Smith for her Florida Memorial door.
“At the start of Black History Month, I typically will send out an HBCU sign-up sheet for teachers to pre-identify which HBCU they’d like to represent on their classroom doors,” Pembroke assistant principal Salwa Kinsey said. “Teachers have a lot of fun with this competition, and the doors are inspiring for our students as they walk throughout the building, seeing different HBCU’s represented everywhere.”