Black History Month Celebration at the Decagon

Students Make Black History Month Presentations

Students Salute Achievements of African-American Leaders

Students in five classes at the Decagon on the Rye Lake Campus of SWBOCES made presentations as part of the third annual Black History Month Celebration Feb. 28.

Teacher Rhonda Owens-Suarez’ class gave a tribute to the late Michael Jackson with a presentation called “Man in the Mirror.” That song played in the background as student Tomas Saavedra narrated a PowerPoint presentation about Mr. Jackson’s life. Through the words of “Man in the Mirror,” “Heal the World” and other songs, the pop star “talked about bringing the different races together” and that people should treat one another with respect and kindness, Tomas said.

Teacher Dan Shiels’ students highlighted the achievements of important figures in African-American history, such as Mae Jemison, an engineer, physician and former astronaut; Jesse Owens, a track and field athlete who won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics; and Hank Aaron, a baseball right-fielder who hit 755 home runs during his career.

Andrew Santora’s class recited the poem “Freedom” by Langston Hughes. Three students took turns reading parts of the famous work.

Student Austin Jeffries started the presentation by Lauren Gurciullo’s class with a speech. “In honor of Black History Month, my friends and I learned about many different African-Americans who changed our community for the better,” said Austin, who had a laminated photo of Harriet Tubman hanging from his neck.

Among the other important figures that he and his classmates studied were Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Michelle Obama and Kobe Bryant. After explaining those figures, the students turned around. Each had a segment of Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise,” along with a drawing they did, on a laminated poster hanging down their back.

Teacher Theresa Saive’s class spoke about Martin Luther King Jr. “He spoke of peace and civil rights so all of us would know that fairness and equality for everyone in our land is a dream that can come true someday,” student Ryan Hughes said.