Black History Month program lives on a Shields Elementary

Feb. 21, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 20, 2013 at 8:21 p.m.

Despite her usual nerves, D'Ajunae Williams, 11, said she's ready to dance.

The Shields Elementary School fifth-grader will join about 60 other students at her school's Black History Month program Friday afternoon.

"We can learn about how blacks and whites were split apart and came together," D'Ajunae said. "We can learn about how and who fought for us."

The young African-American student, a member of the Shields Shark Steppers, and her classmate Aliza Scott, 11, said they're both glad their school has dedicated a whole program to the topic.

"To me it's kind of exciting to learn about the freedom of all the slaves and how they became free," Aliza said. "I like hearing about where they came from at first and stuff like that."

Event co-coordinator and Shields special education teacher Tonika Bufford said this is her second time working with the school's Black History month program.

"It's been time-consuming setting up the food and making phone calls," Bufford said. "Of course, Mrs. Rosie Brown is a veteran, she made all of the phone calls to speakers because of all her connections in the community."

Among the various speakers from the community slated to speak at the event, Victoria school board trustee Kevin VanHook hopes to pass his wisdom on to students.

Van Hook said he worries about what students at the elementary school level know about black history.

"I met a third-grader about a week ago that didn't know much about slavery, and then I met a fifth-grader that knew very little about the progress made since," VanHook said. "There's been so much progress made in the African-American community, and I want the youth to recognize that."

Bufford echoed the school board member's sentiments on education.

"We can't just be nonchalant about our heritage," Bufford said. "We have to be vigilant and know where we came from - the good and the bad parts."



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