Focusing on Black History

Rushmore Avenue School fourth-grader Mikayla inspired classmates to celebrate important historical and contemporary figures with her Black History Month initiative. Mikayla’s mission was to highlight the lives of African-American celebrities, athletes, activists and even family members.

“I wanted to celebrate Black History Month because it is a part of my heritage, which is special to me,” said Mikayla, who enlisted the help of family, friends and fellow students in educating others about how these people made a difference in American society.

“Mikayla approached me with the idea, which complimented the curriculum beautifully,” said fourth-grade teacher Kathleen Marconi. “She really took on a leadership role by giving a PowerPoint presentation to her peers asking them to participate. I couldn’t believe how many people volunteered – it was wonderful.”

Student Harleigh did a presentation on African-American choreographer and activist Alvin Ailey. “I really got into the research process and took a lot of time exploring his history,” said Harleigh. “Like Alvin, I am also a dancer, so it was a great opportunity for me to learn about someone who helped make history with something that I am interested in.”

“I embraced this opportunity that combined learning about diversity with Common Core speaking and presentation skills,” said Marconi. “Students were encouraged to used complex vocabulary, maintain eye contact with the audience and truly learn and understand the material they were presenting.”