WEST ORANGE, NJ -- Hazel Elementary School held its sixth annual "Feel the Beat" program, as students, staff, and parents came out in force to celebrate Black History Month and enjoy an evening of music, dance and spoken word.
Fatou Mbaye-Halsey, Mten Halsey, Principal Ana Marti, Porl Gordon, Phyllis Seibert, Anne Betkowski, Joyce Soto and Michelle Ledesma formed the core group organizing the evening. Students in grades K-5 contributed to the program:
Hazelette Dancers........"Lean on Me" dance
Kindergarten Poem......... “The Lion and The Mouse,” and “Beautiful Blackbird”
First- and Second-grade Poem: African American History and "Hip Hop: the First Music" dance
Third-grade Poem: African Culture
Fourth-grade Poem: Sundiata Keita
Fifth-grade Poem: Africa and African American History
For the first time ever, the newly formed Hazel Theater group performed vignettes from "The Lion King" in song and dance.
The popular Umoja Dance Group closed out the program with energetic African folk dancing. Umoja is Swahili for "unity."
"This is my first "Feel the Beat" and I am excited to be here," said Marti. "I'm so thankful for our parents, students, and staff for this amazing celebration."