Geraldine Tibbs, at left, joins Donnie Lyon, David Lanier and Laura Damewood for Endeavor's "Celebration of History" (CONTRIBUTED)
Geraldine Tibbs, at left, joins Donnie Lyon, David Lanier and Laura Damewood for Endeavor's "Celebration of History" (CONTRIBUTED)

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Endeavor’s ‘Celebration of History’ spotlights African-American educators

Published 12:24pm Wednesday, February 13, 2013

HARVEST — African-American educators were in the spotlight for “Celebration of History,” presented by fourth-graders at Endeavor Elementary School on Feb. 7.

Each class chose a student to portray an African American educator, past or present. “The overwhelming attendance of parents, inspirational tributes of song and students’ active participation was wonderful,” teacher sponsor Pamela Henson said.

Fourth-graders sang “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” an American folksong that was “a ‘musical map’ used by the Underground Railroad that led fugitive slaves from Mobile north to the Ohio River and to freedom,” Henson said. The ‘drinking gourd’ is a ladle made from a dried gourd. The song was a trademark during the Civil Rights movements in the 1950s and 1960s.

Their rendition of “Amazing Grace” by English clergyman John Newton revealed forgiveness and redemption after his involvement in Atlantic slave trade, Henson said.

Guest speaker Geraldine Tibbs, director of public relations with Madison County Schools, encouraged students to become better leaders daily with a solid education. “Mrs. Tibbs embraced the parents and spoke to the excellence in leadership of our students in Madison County,” Henson said.

Students making special presentations were Trinity Cummings, Laura Damewood, Geiona Maehew, Gracie Stucky, David Lanier, Donnie Lyon and Alexis Wolverton.

The audience then dismissed to the students’ black history museum featuring historical and contemporary African-Americans who influenced lifestyles and developed inventions.

Assistant principal Jenny McAlister and music teacher Anne Chelekis also helped with the program. Henson also acknowledged Endeavor parents and students, especially the Student Council, for their support. Other fourth-grade teachers are Paula Bagley, Marlo Freeman, Carol Heinse and Catherine Mikolaschek.

“The students pleasantly surprised me by conducting themselves with such leadership,” Henson said. “The museum was absolutely more than I could have expected.” Also, Endeavor’s news station is airing black history moments.

Parent Beth Trees enjoyed seeing 125 students transform essays into the walk-through museum. “Since the museum will be up through February, they can go in several times and learn something new relating to Black History Month,” Trees said.

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