Students arrived as early as 7:15 a.m. to practice one last time. By 9:20 a.m., the Underwood Theatre was filled with students, faculty, and staff. Each year, Diversity In Action (DIA) decides on a theme that will govern their programming, and this year they chose "The Story of Us." The Black History Month subcommittee had been preparing for this moment for more than 12 months, the moment when their stories would be shared.
"You don't get the opportunity to be in front that often," Mrs. Ayesha Spooner, DIA Sponsor, explained, "And so when you do, you need to shine."
First, a video produced by Lani McHenry '20 started off the presentation. The audience watched familiar faces appear in succession as current students shared their stories of Black Culture and what their heritage meant to them.
Following the video, students like Jaquon Marion '21 walked up to the podium to speak on what Black History and Black Culture meant to them: "Life brings about adversity, and each time I am faced with an obstacle, I smile and take it as an opportunity to be better[....]Being black is my positivity, and there's nothing I'd rather be."
After the students spoke, Falyn Page '14, alumna and assistant Cheerleading coach at EHS, walked onto the stage—a place she had not been since the Spring Dance Concert of her senior year. "I guess it's true what they say," Page said, "Time flies when you're having fun!" While there were some challenges, Page said she enjoyed her time at EHS. She did, however, encourage students to be true to their own stories and not pretend to be something they are not.
"Your culture, your story, and your voice is what makes you unique," Page concluded.
Reflecting on the morning, Mrs. Spooner could not hide her emotions as she looked back on a year's worth of planning that brought the entire theatre to its feet: "When the students work that hard, and then they're successful—I'm just so proud of them. It was probably one of my proudest moments at EHS."
-Scott W. Cunningham
Watch the full video from the EHS Black History Month Chapel below: