Ashlyn Shelton, senior at Strom Thurmond High School, told her Spanish teacher, Imelda Shoffner, “That was one of the best assemblies we ever had at STHS! Another senior, Ty Johnson gushed, “I am so proud of you, Ms. Shoffner!” So what is all the fanfare over? Headed by Ms. Shoffner, Mrs. Mary Bates and Ms. Tracy Eubanks, English and science teachers, respectively, jumped on board to create a memorable performance that students and faculty would not soon forget.

A brief rundown of the ceremony, held in the STHS gymnasium, started with Javin Holston, senior, explaining the origin of Black History Month. The STHS Gospel Choir sang “Lift Every Voice,” originally a poem by Black poet James Weldon Johnson and is now the National Black Anthem. Under the direction of Ms. Eubanks’s Rebel Men’s Institute, an explanation by Fred Culbreath, senior, and a demonstration of “stepping,” a form of percussive dance was given. A poetry reading by Ms. Pam Andrews, former JET English teacher followed by LaShanda Andrews, senior, performing an original dance to John Legend’s “Glory.” Guest musician, Mike Stone, from Columbia entertained the audience with music through the ages. Students were invited during the Zulu song, “Akekho Ofana,” to leave the bleachers and dance.

After the student body got back to class, Mrs. Kimberly Speed, science teacher at STHS summed the spectators’ reaction with this commentary, “Thank you for all of your hard-work with these students — I was so impressed with the heart poured into the various recitals and components and your choice of musicians was “spot-on!”! I was also so impressed with the students in the audience — they were FULLY engaged throughout the event! There was the perfect mixture of levity, sobriety, and respect! Let’s make this an annual event!”

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