Celebrating Black Excellence

Written by Madison Lloyd

On February 8 , 2022, Centereach High School hosted their annual Black History Month Celebration. This year, the Black History Month committee focused primarily on celebrating Black excellence of the past and present, and excellent it was. The night began with the introduction of the Master of Ceremony, Keyana Demosthene. President of the BHM committee, Ms. Demosthene started off by revealing the motives of both herself and the other committee members for this year’s celebration. She made it known how important it is to debunk the stereotypes of Black Americans and promote the success that they all share, all the while making sure the presentation was informative and entertaining.

Following Ms. Demosthene was Christey Jeanty and Amber Mcleod singing “Lift Every Voice & Sing”, otherwise known as the Black National Anthem. Next came the Opening Remarks, brought to the audience by CHS’ principle, Mr. Thomas Bell. Mr. Bell gave many insightful comments about not only the BHM celebrations but the celebrations of all different cultures in CHS. He said, “We have to make sure we recognize our similarities and differences and do our best to celebrate them.” After closing out his speech, some students got the chance to read some poems by Maya Angelou. “Still I Rise” was read by senior Gabriela Varela, and “Reflections” by junior Damis Pichardo Payero. 

As the night progressed, students of the BHM committee commenced their presentation of Black success and excellence through sports. The audience got to listen to these students talk about the world’s all time favorites, such as Serena and Venus Williams, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and more. At first, they concentrated on each individual’s success within their sports careers, but also divulged beyond that into aspects like their successes in the business world and the ways in which they’ve influenced society. After their demonstration, other members started a new segment, one that explored the lesser known voices who have contributed to the prosperity of Black Americans. They went over the history of Claudette Colvin, Irene Morgan, Hiram Smith, as well as many others, as pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement. Through these two sections, the audience was given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of Black history and prowess, showcasing the success of the BHM committee already. 

Amidst these exhibitions, the evening’s guest speaker, Ibtisama Ninche, a registered nurse and student parent, delivered an enlightening and enjoyable speech. The speech was centered around her life, the lessons she received from it, and how she believed they applied to everyone. Throughout her speech, Mrs. Niche made it known the difficulties and struggles she faced as a working mother pursuing a nursing degree and career. But after each example issue she explained, she was able to come to the same conclusion: never succumb to failure, never quit. Amongst it all, Mrs. Niche routed her points all back to the importance of education. 

The night began to conclude with a dance choreographed by Taliyah Windley and Zieeda Clarke. It started off with just the members of the BHM committee, but then the members of the audience were invited to join them on the dance floor. The coordinators played songs like “Candy” by Cameo to get everyone in a fun and lively spirit. By the end of the night, people were eating and dancing, so suffice to say it worked!

A special thanks needs to be given to Ms. Patricia Duryea, the advisor of the BHM committee and the History Club overall. Though she handed the reins to the students, her presence and participation made the celebration complete. Overall, the night was an amazing success, essentially following the theme of the entire event. Well done students!