News Staff Report
Songs, poems, a skit and an address by the president of the state’s largest historically black college highlighted the annual Black History Month program at Escambia County Middle School last week.
Kyleigh Everett welcomed her fellow students, the handful of parents who attended and the guests; Stephen Williams read the school’s mission statement, and Paul Martin led the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance prior to the start of the formalities, which carried a theme of “Think Great Thoughts, Do Great Things.”
After the ECMS choir sang “High, High Hopes,” during which the ECMS dancers performed, fourth graders gave an overview of American poets and fifth graders recited “Who Am I.”
ECMS sixth graders performed a skit depicting a mock trial of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, then the school’s mass choir sang “Deep River/Swing Low” and the school’s band played the traditional Zulu hymn “Ukuthula.”
Pastor Kim Yarber, JAG instructor at Conecuh County’s Workforce Development Center, introduced the event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Quinton T. Ross Jr., president of Alabama State University.
Ross, a former state senator who was the first black male elected as the senate’s minority leader, enjoyed a distinguished 23-year career in the Montgomery Public School System and at H. Council Trenholm State Community College. He told the youngsters to “grasp the light of knowledge through embracing diversity.”
Band and choir director Conrad Weber and the ECMS choir sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” then Mistress of Ceremony Shontia Martin delivered closing remarks and dismissed the assembly.