Black History Celebration “Breaking Barriers in Culture and Sports”

Breaking Barriers

By: Alexandria Ortiz (Member of the CHS Black History Month Committee)

The final day of February concluded the last day of Black History Month and commenced the Black History Celebration at Centereach High School. This best quality of this night is how it brings everyone together, proving that everyone is the same on the inside despite differences in appearance. Our beloved ex-dean Ms. Marshal originally started this night many years ago. Thankfully she was able to return to our school to see how this celebration has developed.  The lovely Ms. Rapisairda returned from maternity leave for one night to cheer on her students perform.  Even some teachers from Newfield High School attended to show their support to support our school despite the rivalry.

The Black History Month committee continued the tradition of impersonating an inspirational barrier breaker. Misty Copeland, Muhammad Ali, and Jessie Owens were the athletes recognized.  Phillis Wheatley and Mary Church Terrell, a poet and a journalist respectfully, proved one does not have to be an athlete in order to be a break barrier. Unknown barrier breakers Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, and Philandro Castile were honored in Eyram Atatsi’s original piece, Remembrance of Modern Day Heroes. They opened the eyes of the American public to the horror of police brutality. Their impact indeed makes them heroes of today.

Further, the winners of the Centereach High School essay contest were revealed. Congratulations to the third place winner Thomas Polochak, the second place winner Anthony Roman, and the first place winner David Hatami.

A poem and spoken word were performed as well. I recited the poem “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes. This poem highlights the injustices suffered by not only African Americans, but be all minority groups in this country. Even though this poem was written in 1936, many of the problems expressed in this poem are still present in current day society. “[An] Open Letter: A Dialogue on Race and Poetry” by Claudia Rankine read by Amrit Nasiruddin highlights and challenges discrimination used in everyday conversation.

The night concluded with a farewell to our previous president, Barack Obama and the first family. We will miss them and we wish the Obama family the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Thank you to our guest speaker, Officer Edward Groce, for educating the audience on the surprisingly minimal requirements to become a Suffolk County police officer. Thank you Officer Groce for speaking at our school. Also special thanks for the Centereach High School Jazz Band for performing. Lastly huge thanks to Ms. Strong for wonderfully putting this night together after our previous advisor, Ms. Rapisairda left on maternity leave.

By Sakib Choudhury
On the night of February 28, Centereach High School celebrated its annual Black History Month Celebration. This year’s theme explored Africans American’s role in breaking racial barriers in sports and culture. The celebration featured everything from eloquently spoken poems to a bold jazz band. The night kicked off with with a welcome by the host of the night, Sade White. Throughout the night, various students impersonated numerous “barrier breakers” in African American history who helped create revolutions in sports in terms of racial relations; some of these “barrier breakers” included Jessie Owens and Muhammad Ali. Also, during the celebration, the winners of the essay contest recited their essays for all to hear. These winners spoke of how both Muhammad Ali and Jessie Owens contributed largely to the incorporation of black people in major league sports. In addition to all of this, there was also a guest speaker from the Suffolk County Police Department, Edward Groce, who spoke of the process of joining the SCPD. Lastly, the celebration ended with a remembrance of a revolutionary president, who broke the racial barriers on presidency, Barack Obama. Overall, it was a very festive night that highlighted key moments in African American history.

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