By SHERRY DIGMON
Kay Lett, J.D., brought a most meaningful message to students at Escambia County Middle School during the Black History program Wednesday, February 23, 2022.
Ms. Lett, Campus Director, Coastal Alabama Community College, Monroeville, said she has asked a number of young people what their goals are.
“I’ve never had a young person tell me their goal is to become a drug addict or a career criminal, to be homeless or helpless,” she said.
History is his story, her story, and it’s about your story.
“On the day you were born, you were handed an empty book,” Ms. Lett said. “The decision and choices you make will fill that book.”
She asked students to think back 20 years – well before they were born. The year was 2002. George W. Bush was president. There was a sniper in Washington D.C. A stamp was 34 cents. Gas was $1.36 a gallon. A loaf of bread was a dollar. Minimum wage was $5.15.
Then she asked them to think ahead 20 years – the year 2042.
“You are now twenty years older than today. Where will you be? Will you have accomplished the things you wanted to? The result will be the things you do and do not do today … Those who made an impact on the world were young just like you are today.”
Ms. Lett told students their impact will be determined by the 3 Ds – Decisions, Determination, Discipline.
Decisions – In speaking of Rosa Parks, Ms. Lett asked, “What would you have done? What would your decision have been? … I recommend you make sound informed decisions. Decide who you are and what you stand for.”
Determination – “Black history is history of great hardship and danger,” she said. “Have the determination to make this world a better place. You must have courage and believe in yourself. Be a leader, not a follower.”
Discipline – “This is the ability to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done,” she said. “It’s vital for you to educate yourself. Discipline is nothing more or less than self-control. Do what needs to be done to be healthy, happy and well … Black history is the history of people who wanted to be educated. What is your excuse? Why are you not taking every opportunity to be educated.”
In closing, Ms. Lett quoted Spike Lee, “Do the right thing.”
She left students with this last challenge, “As you sit here, you are the only one who can write your book. Now the writing is up to you.”
The theme for this year’s program was Black Health & Wellness.
Those participating are as follows:
Mistress of Ceremony – Imari Lemon
Welcome – Amaree Mosley
Occasion – Zaniyah Johnson
Pledge of Allegiance –LaRoche Lee
“How Great Is Our God” – Elements of Worship, Destiny Worship Center
Introduction of Speaker – Marlo Young, Escambia County Schools Mental Health Coordinator
Presentation of Gift
Presentation – African Americans in the Medical Field (short bios presented by students)
Dr. Stephanie Holt – Bryson Phillips
Dr. Jandell Allen-Davis – Gabriel Richardson
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett – Trinity Rabb
“Single Ladies” by Beyonce – performed by the ECMS Band
Presentation – Poetry by African American Poets
“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman – Mariah Leslie, Tevin McClain, JaNae Dillard, Caleb Shoemaker
“Hey, Black Child” by Countee Cullen – Ke’Aja’Nee Spencer
“The Be Young Gifted & Black” by Weldon Irvine Jr. – ShaMarion Matthews
“You Made a Way” – Elements of Worship
Awards were presented in the school’s black history essay / poster contest sponsored by Concerned Citizens of Atmore. The awards were presented by Sandra Gray and the Rev. Wayne Johnson with CCOA.
Alex Nelson won first place in the Black History Essay Contest. Jamarcus Hunter won second place in the essay contest.
The program concluded with “We Got That Fire” by Rebirth Brass Band performed by ECMS Band.