ORANGE, NJ – February 9, 2018 – The Housing Authority of the City of Orange kicked off its Black History Month festivities with a dance performance that brought generations together to the community room at the HACO headquarters on Thomas Blvd., February 7.
Students from the Orange Conservatory, Park Avenue School, and Concepts in Choreography, performed before an audience of seniors residents. “We are happy to be able to host such an event annually,” said HACO Executive Director Walter McNeil. “This event is a wonderful opportunity to have the children engage with the seniors.”
The students were accompanied by Orange Schools Superintendent Dr. Ronald Lee who addressed the seniors, saying, “You are vitally important to our community. Our young people need to hear of your struggles. Your history is our history. Your past affects our future, so you need to share it. This is an honor for what you did, for the path you laid down for us.”
It was a lesson that students didn’t miss. “Giving back is a good feeling,” said 14-year-old Gabby Rembert, daughter of the dance teacher Debbie. Added 16-year-old Looamy Attema, “I like to make people smile. It makes you happy.”
The dancers represent the Orange School District’s commitment to the arts. The program already has an honor roll of successful graduates. For example, dancer Grant Braden, 18, has already received a full college scholarship. Said fellow dancer Daveigh Hedgeman, “We always like to take different opportunities to show what we do.”
Said teacher Debbie Rembert, “It is important for our dancers to understand about giving back.”
The group already inspired Kiehi Gittens, almost three years old, who told her grandmother, Terry, that she wanted to be a ballerina.
“For me, the program is bringing out the best of Orange,” said Councilwoman-at-Large Donna K. Williams. “Zeal meets knowledge. We have youth meeting our seniors. That is the best of Orange.”
For resident Patricia Battle, the lesson was even simpler. “This is a reach out, an awakening. We have to reach out more.”
About the Orange Housing Authority
The City of Orange Housing Authority works to transform the City of Orange by providing safe, livable and affordable housing that promotes the development of communities. At the Orange Housing Authority, participants are not statistics, they are neighbors. The OHA knows the community and tailors programs to better serve the participant’s needs. Whether it is a search for housing, assistance with foreclosure or neighborhood development, the Orange Housing Authority stands ready to offer its services to all residents.