As we continue our commitment to diversity at New Albany Schools, we join the nation in celebrating Black History in our learning community. Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. We seek to reflect on the many achievements and contributions of the African American community – from Ohio’s own Jesse Owens, the courage of Rosa Parks, to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who helped lead the fight for equality and civil rights.
On February 15, 2013 New Albany Students, grades 2 – 12 will attend a program planned by faculty and students honoring the historical journey for African Americans at the McCoy Center for the Performing Arts. The presentation has been thoughtfully planned to portray content that is accurate, appropriate, and closely-aligned with our district goals. The overarching message is one that many students are able to come together to create a program to enhance overall understanding of diversity and help create a school climate which understands and accepts all cultures.
The Black History Month assembly is a highly anticipated event that students and staff look forward to every year. This celebration, scheduled for Friday February 15th, 2013, promises to be the most exciting and cutting-edge program that our district has ever presented!
Co-organizers Sean Hooper and Kelle Dildine have been working with students to present information using a fresh format so that the program is both educational and entertaining. For the first time since its inception, the 2013 program involves a core drama team. Through the narrative thread led by staff member Crickett Anderson, the audience is taken on a journey of the African-American experience chronologically over the past 400 years. This format also delivers a story that is both accurate and engaging, and the language used in this production is appropriate and suitable for all age groups.
Act I opens in the 1700s with field workers depicting a scene where an overseer/plantation owner points to a worker and motions for him to leave his family. This mild depiction of a family torn apart by slavery is followed by a spiritual song. The narrator shares with the audience the importance of early spiritual music and how songs were used as a means of communication. Act II presents the Civil Rights era with a cast of 40 students reenacting the famous 1963 March on Washington with excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
In the final act, the audience will witness one of the most significant moments in our nation’s history: the inauguration of the first African-American President, Barack H. Obama. To conclude the program, keynote speaker Mr. Steven Ryuse will share his own personal experiences regarding growing up as a minority in the competitive world of tennis. Finally, to fully bring the message into the 21st century (and to send all audience members away with a greater appreciation for modern African-American culture); the company will present a “Tribute to Hip-Hop” dance finale showcasing all students participating in the program. Students (ages 5-19) will dance together with contemporary choreography created by Abbie Keller of Broadway Bound Dance Centre. The audience is bound to be proud and impressed by the diversity and immense talent of our students.
New Albany High School – Author in Residence
STEVEN RYUSE Author, I Didn’t Know I Was Black: Growing Up Black In the White World of Tennis
Mr. Ryuse will be meeting with groups of students, humanities classes and teaching staff throughout the week. He will cover everything from discussions on the content of his book, the worlds of professional tennis and the power of writing. He will also be featured in the Black History Month Celebration on February 15, 2013.
*Scholarship Opportunity – Thanks to the generosity of New Albany Scholars, students have an opportunity to compete for a $500 college scholarship.
Students are asked to reflect on two questions;
- How has Stephen Ryuse’s book impacted my school experience and/or life?
- How has the Stephen Ryuse’s visit impacted me, our school, or our community?
Students are then asked to record a (2 minute maximum) video and submit here by March 15, 2013.
Community Youth Culture Series February featured Speaker
STEVEN RYUSE Author, I Didn’t Know I Was Black: Growing Up Black In the White World of Tennis A Discussion of Race and Identity
Steven Ryuse’s book provides an interesting and insightful memoir about growing up black in the world of white tennis. Ryuse will discuss his life growing up in Mount Vernon, Ohio. His initial shock of racism at a young age, when he suddenly realizes he is in two different worlds. Ryuse, through his book, poignantly and powerfully engages the reader in his struggles from that point forward. Mr. Ryuse will help convey an important message that social interaction, rather than biology, may play a larger role in a person’s self- identity. For anyone attending, reading the book prior to this lecture is not necessary and excerpts of this book will be read during the evening lecture.
An Evening with Steven Ryuse
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 @ 7:00 PM
Mershad Hall, The McCoy Center for the Arts