NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – February is Black History Month and, throughout the month, students and staff at North Plainfield’s East End School participated in a number of activities that recognized the achievements of famous African Americans, including classroom lessons, a door decorating contest, and a special evening Black History Month Celebration.
“Understanding the important contributions that African Americans have made throughout the history of our nation and the perseverance in the face of many struggles, is a worthwhile lesson for all of our students to learn,” stated East End Student Liaison and Black History Month Committee Chair Lynnelle Thomas.
Black History is an annual observation celebrating the past and present accomplishments of African Americans. In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the study of African Americans Life and History, proposed the establishment of a week to honor the history and contributions of African Americans to American Life, and thus became known as the “Father of Black History.”
In the weeks leading by to the celebration, all classes researched and chose one person who made an impact on African American history and, on Feb. 28, students, parents, teachers, staff and North Plainfield residents along with school district administrators and borough officials gathered in East End’s community room to watch the students bring black history to life through student-led songs, dances, and presentations.
Among those in attendance were Superintendent of Schools Dr. James McLaughlin, Assistant Superintendent Michelle Vella, members of the North Plainfield Board of Education, and East End Principal John Ferguson, along with North Plainfield Mayor Michael Giordano, Jr., Council President Larry La Ronde, and Councilwoman Keiona Miller, who in addition to serving as the keynote speaker, was also recognized at the event.
“I am especially grateful to our students to learn all about the prominent African Americans they spoke about tonight and their inspiring stories”, said Dr. McLaughlin.
The evening began with the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by high school student Soluchi Enwerekowe, followed by a presentation by East End students Manuela Roncancio-Roldan, Corey Bartley, and Madison Hannah on the history of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the importance of Black History Month. The North Plainfield High School Step Team followed with a performance that highlighted the history of stepping and attendees had the opportunity to go on a History Door Display Walk to see the decorated classroom doors.
Miller was presented with East End School’s first distinguished “Outstanding Achievement” award by Principal John Ferguson and recognized for ‘impacting our students lives greatly and continuing to serve our community with her dedication and tireless efforts.” The councilwoman urged students to take their education seriously and demonstrate positive character traits such as respect and responsibility to others.
“I know you all have been working so hard to demonstrate your district’s goals of caring, appreciation, respect, and determination everyday in school. Keep up the good work,” Miller said.
East End’s Black History Month Committee includes Ferguson and Thomas, along with counselor Nicole DiVenuta, Joanna Oliver, and Kelly Schmitz.
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