Third Creek Middle School students celebrated the legacy, culture and accomplishments of the African-American community on Friday afternoon.

The Black History Month program was titled “I rise, You Rise, We Rise Together.”

TCMS students Haylee Safran-Walker and Malcolm Wilson welcomed community members, parents and students to the program inside the school gym.

“Black History Month is a time for African Americans to acknowledge key figures from our past and present. It’s an opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the achievements that African Americans have accomplished in this country, despite the history of racism and oppression,” Safran-Walker said.

She shared information about key figures in the Civil Rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

Wilson mentioned that African Americans have also made their mark in music.

“Where would music be without Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston?” Wilson said.

Without those contributions, he said, we’d be without Blues, Jazz, Rap and other music.

Wilson challenged students to make the most of Black History Month.

“Engage people with views different from our own. Share your perspective, but also listen,” he said.

Safran-Walker added, “Listen with kindness and love. If we listen to each other, if we treat each other with respect, we can find ways to overcome our modern-day problems together.”

Students showcased their leadership skills through music, movement, dance, poetry and public speaking.

Da’mirion Garner delivered a powerful reading of Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech and the middle school band played “Bad” by Michael Jackson.

TCMS drama class and eighth-graders both gave special performances that told stories and incorporated rhythmic movements and dancing.

Statesville High School chorus and drum line students also performed.

All were quiet and moved as the unique blending of voices in the chorus carried the words of “Wade in the Water.”

The momentum continued to grow as the SHS drum line gave a dynamic and energizing performance.

Following the student showcases, community members and students participated in an African Heritage fashion walk-through. Clothing featured colorful African prints and headpieces and jewelry.

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