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A Black History Celebration at Kimberley Park

In a world where it seems as if division and chaos are prominent, the City of Winston-Salem has managed to keep community and peace at the forefront through collaborative efforts. This story begins at Kimberley Park Elementary School, where various community leaders were invited to celebrate Black History Month. Each week speakers, such as former principal of Kimberley Park, Mr. Richard Watts, were asked to participate in a weekly Harambee celebration by reading a book of their choice to students. Harambee is a tradition at KP when students and staff “pull together” and celebrate through song, chants, reading and sometimes dance. Also, during this time, students and staff are recognized for various achievements.

Students from Kimberley Park with created props for BHM event

image of WSPD Chief Penn at Kimberley Park talking with students.On February 19, students were surprised by a visit from Winston-Salem Police Chief William Penn, who inspired students to always be exceptional because peers and the community are watching.  Chief Penn also emphasized the importance of education and how making good choices led to the successful path of becoming Chief of Police. His dialogue with students was open, warm, and filled with intriguing questions about Chief Penn’s daily routine, his armor and gear. To conclude his visit, Chief Penn encouraged students to continue their education, and bring that experience and leadership skills back to the community that shaped their foundation.

Kimberley Park concluded its Black History Month celebration with a special program on Thursday evening, February 29th.   The program featured performances by students, such as poetry, a play highlighting African American inventors, and a chorus which performed “This Little Light Mine”, and “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.  Fourth graders Harlem Fenner and Diamond Richard served as Mistresses of Ceremony. The audience was intrigued by the artistic abilities of 5th grade art students who were responsible for creating props. Led by current art teacher Yolanda D Dickerson, students were tasked with using recycled materials to create realistic items such as a washer, mailbox, television, refrigerator, grass and even a lawnmower. When asked, the creators of the lawnmower, Dai’Veon McLean and Neftalli Ramos- Lovato, both shared that the most difficult task was coming up with the design and materials used to construct.  “The intention was to stretch students’ imagination beyond the typical pencil and paint art projects. I wanted them to become engineers and see art in different aspects of life,” stated Ms. Dickerson.

BHM celebration event at Kimberley Park

The evening guest speaker, Attorney Hazel Mack spoke light and life to students, parents and educational influencers charging them with specific tasks that will bring the collective peace and accountability as we move forward as a community. Collaborative efforts of WSSU Flag Line Silky Smooth and Baki Maki had the crowd moving as they celebrated the art of historical dance. Students were selected from the audience to show their “best moves.”  Superintendent Tricia McManus was in attendance, and stated, “It was standing room only at the Kimberly Park Elementary Black History Program.  Every student was part of the performance, and what an incredible performance it was.  From our youngest students singing “This Little Light of Mine” to our older students taking part in skits that highlighted the meaningful contributions of Black Americans, to WSSU dance team wowing the crowd with authentic dance moves, and to a finale of “Lift, Every Voice and Sing,” I was in awe of our talented students, committed staff, and the unwavering support of KP families.   I was honored to be invited and to see the culmination of an engaging unit of study of Black History.  Great work, KP!”

We would like to thank everyone that participated in making this successful.

Yolanda D. Dickerson, Art Teacher