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PAVING THE WAY

Black History Program thanks, honors past contributors
PAVING THE WAY
Taylor High School student Alona Thompson sings a song by Sam Cooke during the school's Black History Program Thursday, Feb. 29. Photo by HUNTER DWORACZYK

Taylor High School used the last day of Black History Month to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of historical Black individuals.

Select students and staff held a Black History Program Thursday, Feb. 29, at the gym, and simultaneously live streamed it

in classrooms. Principal Matthew Wamble said high school students can get caught up in their own lives, so it was great to remind them of what Black history means.

“My question to them is always, ‘what is your contribution going to be?’” Wamble said. “Sacrifices have been made for you, what are you going to sacrifice?”

Most of the program involved students presenting the accomplishments of an assigned historic Black individual.

Some high school presenters discussed athletes of color who made breakthroughs in their sport.

Braylen Rivers highlighted baseball player Jackie Robinson, while Syris Corley highlighted football player Fritz Pollard.

Kyetrevius Sanford highlighted track star Jesse Owens and Kezian Simien highlighted basketball player Don Barksdale.

Other THS students presented pioneers in government and art. Adrian Ross highlighted historian Carter G. Wilson. Treos Richardson highlighted inventor Garrett Morgan. Ka’Mia Gaddison highlighted Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. Peyton Wamble read “A Pledge to Rescue our Youth” by poet Maya Angelou.

“Our students sometimes are far removed from what’s already been paved for them,” Principal Wamble said. “Like (the poem) was talking about, the sacrifice has already been paid for you. So, it is your obligation as a student now to be able to be proud, stand forward and remember the sacrifices that have already been made.”

The program also included performances of familiar songs. The THS band and choir combined to perform the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” student Alona Thompson sang “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke and the THS men’s choir sang “We Shall Overcome.”

Taylor Independent School District’s theater teacher, Jason Angco-Barrera, played a reflective documentary he made for the program.

The video asked questions to local students about what certain Black figures and topics meant to them.

The program concluded with remarks from T. L. Garner, who used a hypothetical scenario to praise the work of Black inventors over the years. He laid out a story of a little boy named Theo, who asked his mother what the world would be like without Black people.

Garner recited how Theo found out Black individuals created many everyday items such as ironing boards, combs, hairbrushes, dustpans, mops, clothes dryers, pencil sharpeners, typewriters, printing presses and lawnmowers.

“So, if you wondered, like Theo, where would we be without Black (people)?” Garner read to conclude his speech. “Well, it is pretty plain to see that we would still be in the dark.”


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