It is not too late to show appreciation during Black History Month, as POWER is hosting karaoke in the Brady Center every Thursday in February. You can sign up on the POWER bulletin board or with Belcher or Filocco.

(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online)

POWER Holds Their Annual Black History Month Convocation

February 22, 2019

On Monday, February 12, POWER (Passionate Outstanding Women Encouraging Respect), the AHN out of school club, held a convocation for the entire student body dedicated to Black History Month. This was the second year it was held, and it was a great hit amongst teachers and students.

(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online)
The opportunity to participate in this yearly convocation is not exclusive to club members but to anyone who wishes to be a part of it.

Josslyn Payne (’20) said, “I thought the convocation was really good. I thought it was a lot better than last year. It was very entertaining, and I feel like the audience could understand it better because the performances were split up and then there was a good break with dancing, and it brought it back to more serious things. And they included the video [at the end], which was really impactful. I’ve participate both years [this year and last year]. I think I will participate next year because I just want to help out because I am a black person, and it is for Black History Month. I think it’s important to educate the school, especially since our minority population is very small. I think our heritage shapes who we are.”

(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online)
There are nine people on POWER’s board, and the presidents are Dieck and Hira Khan (‘19).

This year, the theme was music through the decades. As the theme was specific, Chanita Belcher (’19), who organized the event and has been on the board for POWER for two years, sought outside assistance of choosing great songs sung by African American artists from Nancy Mizzell, the new music instructor.

Stacy Filocco, a social studies teacher and the club moderator, said, “Chanita has been in charge this year and began planning for the event in December. This is the second year that POWER has sponsored this event. Last year’s was led by alumna Tabitha Rucker (‘18). Many girls are performing tomorrow and numerous others have helped with everything from stage hands to music to brainstorming.”

 

The special convocation was held in the Brady Center, and Belcher had first suggested her idea to Greta Dieck (‘19)—one of the co-presidents of POWER. She also did research over the summer, so the event was partly planned. The challenge was coordinating the practice schedule as student’s lives are busy during the year. Fortunately, however, more students participated than was expected.

(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online)
Ombeline Labat (’21), a temporary French exchange student, said, “It was very interesting to see what other schools do, like we don’t do that in France. Schools in France and the United States are different, and we don’t have convocations like that. But we don’t really speak about this subject, maybe sometimes in history [class], but we don’t speak about the culture. [However], I think that it is good that we talk about it. It would be nice [if in my school] we could talk about more cultures. I think it’s nice that we educate students on African American heritage.”

The names of the participants:

Seniors- Maria Almendares, Dayzha Cartwright, Greta Dieck, Hira Khan, Sydney Lowman, Takkarri Mungin, Alley Pauley, Adrianna Radice, Maddie Troy, Summer Wolf, and Robin-Sailor Zander

Juniors- Reagan Finch, Tress Jacobs, Josslyn Payne, and Haven Todd

(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online)
Qemamu Reddick (’21) said, “We have been practicing for about two and a half weeks everyday after school almost, at home, just whenever we can get in practice. Chanita has been really adamant about sending out emails. She really put a lot of time into this. I think that it is very important that I participate in it. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed not only participating in it, but also the reaction from everyone who participated in it and watched it. I think it was a great performance. I think that it is important we celebrate African American culture, but also just branching out to many different cultures [is good], so we’re not so one-sided and everyone is learning something new. My African American culture is very important to me. That is why I really wanted to participate in the performance. My dad was present there today. He recorded everything I think, and he liked it, and he sent it around to my family, so we’ll see what they like about it.”

Sophomores- Julianne Bland, Niliyah Coney, Nayeli Correa, Victoria Huerta, Danielis Baez, and Qemamu Reddick

Freshmen- Savannah Armentrout, Amari Cole, Zandra Barnes and Torrie Bradley

There was a special guest, Belcher’s sister, Charell Belcher.

(Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online)
Labat also said she came to the Academy from France to “improve my English and to experience new cultures, [such as] the difference between America and France,” which relates to the importance of all people being exposed to different traditions and people.

Belcher comments on the importance of her African American heritage as well as the struggles her family has faced as a result.

She said, “Being African American in America is challenging, but it’s my community and my family that keeps me grounded. My heritage means so much to me. Everyone knows of what my ancestors have been through, but the mistreatment to my people hasn’t stopped yet, and during this black history month, I just wanted to bring up the positivity and love that was formed through it all and not put so much focus on the bad. Even though we’ve experienced some horrible, horrible moments in life, we’ve overcame, and with that, we’ve had some amazing accomplishments, like music. Being African American and being able to make a presentation like this is just a beautiful thing, and I just bask in the glory of it.”

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