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Celebrating Black History Month at Whitaker Elementary

To see the report about Big House Gaines, go to Big House Gaines 

To see the report about Lawrence Joel, go to Lawrence Joel 

To see the report on Historically Black Colleges & Universities, go to HBCU

Black 4 By Dorothy Wattleworth

Whitaker Elementary School

FEBRUARY 17, 2021 – At Whitaker Elementary, students have been celebrating Black History Month as part of the school’s regular news reports.

In newscasts this month, Jessean Werts reported on Clarence "Big House" Gaines and Te'Var Middleton reported on Lawrence Joel.  Both boys are fifth-graders.

Last year I worked as the media assistant at Whitaker, and I helped our media coordinator, Rachel Stinehelfer, with student video projects for Black History Month in our 4th and 5th grade classes.  We used some of those reports on newscasts last year, so we wanted to do something similar this year as part of Black History Month. 

Since we aren't seeing students in the media center right now, we collaborated with one of our 4th grade teachers, Deneia Attucks, to come up with ideas for these reports.  We decided to focus on Black men/women/groups who had a connection to Winston-Salem, and we asked students to record the special reports.

Our first report - in our Tuesday, February 9th newscast - was actually done by Mrs. Attucks and Jessica Raye, one of our kindergarten teachers, on Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU). They both graduated from Winston-Salem State, so they talked about what HBCUs are and had a special focus on Winston-Salem State. 

Jessean's report on Big House Gaines was next, followed by Te'Var's report on Lawrence Joel. 

Black 3 Tomorrow's report will feature The 5 Royales, an R&B group formed in Winston-Salem. Next week, we feature Clark Campbell and the Safe Bus Company, predecessor of our city transportation system and at one time, the largest Black-owned and operated transportation business in the world (source: NC Transportation Museum website) and one other report, to be determined.

We have produced a school news program for years with 5th graders serving as our news crew.  Last spring, we moved to just two newscasts each week, since we were not in the school building, and we have been producing these newscasts via Zoom. We are doing the same thing to create these special reports.  We record the day before the newscast will air. 

I meet with the students on Zoom; they practice the script; and then I hide my video and record the students.  I upload the Zoom video into WeVideo and edit it there.  We send the links for the newscast out the night before to all our staff, and Principal Sharon Creasy makes the links available via email and our school Twitter account each Tuesday and Thursday morning.