Black History Month Concludes With Performance, Music
The Bolles School is wrapping up several weeks of Black History Month education and celebration following a full February slate of events. Activities culminated on February 28 when the Triple-A Club (African-American Association) from the Bolles Upper School San Jose Campus performed the story “Beautiful Blackbird” for fifth-graders from the Bolles Lower School Whitehurst Campus. Triple-A Club students presented the show in Davis Gym on February 28.
Inspired by West African griot folktales, the performance featured African-American dance and musical traditions, including step and bucket drumming. Nearly 20 students took part in the lively presentation, the product of many weekend rehearsals. Following the show, older students hosted a team-building game with the younger students and discussed the meaning of the story they performed.
"My overwhelming feeling about the kids in the club is pride at how brave and creative and committed they are to sharing the richness of African-American culture with their classmates and teachers at school and how open they are to innovations and beauty from all cultures,” said AAA Club sponsor Anna Jacobson
. “These kids are awesome!”
Co-presidents of the AAA Club are Caila Carter, Yankia Ned,
and Jalea Turner
. AAA Club members are: Christen Carter, Philip DeWees, Jasmine Maina, Marcaya Fisher, Diara Rivers, Brenna Gehlen, Alex Chila, Alec Lerner, Caroline Margulies, Jarod Williams, Blessin Blackshear, Mia Zanghetti, Anthony Elias, Kailon Thompson
, and Keni Thompson
To see the students’ vibrant, rhythmic performance, click here for a YouTube video
The club’s Black History Month activities have been ongoing through the month of February. As a way to recognize the contributions of African-American artists to the country’s arts culture, the club also orchestrated special tracks of music for the school’s loudspeaker system. The songs, organized by week and genre, were played in the intervals between class changes each Friday in February. During the first week of the month, Jazz was the theme of the Friday class-change music experience. The following weeks included Funky Friday, R&B with a dose of reggae, Hip Hop and Rap. Jacobson arranged students’ requests and suggestions into organized playlists for each Friday’s bell schedule.
History teacher Janice Fleugel
told Jacobson in an email that “it has been great every Friday to look out and see kids literally dancing their way to their next class.”
In addition, club students also shared daily quotes, vocabulary and historical information in the Daily Bulletin for the Bolles Upper School San Jose Campus.
Jacobson said this year’s Black History Month events were made even more successful by the hard work of many Bolles faculty and staff. She thanked Linda Nettles
and Dawn Pickren
for their assistance with “Quote of the Day,” Andrew Dickson
for choreographing and rehearsing “Beautiful Blackbird” with students and helping with costume construction and song editing, and Paul Sollee
and Brian Huggins
for their help broadcasting the music each Friday. Jacobson said fifth grade teachers Dawn Collins, Laura Ropp and Katy Bono – and Bolles Lower School Whitehurst Campus Principal Carol Imfeld
– also were helpful in sharing their class time with the Triple-A club, as was Piper Moyer for her “endless’ support of the club’s activities.
Head of School Brian Johnson
launched Bolles’ celebration of Black History Month in late-January with an eloquent convocation speech to the Bolles Upper School student body. He spoke of Martin Luther King Jr
. and other civil rights leaders, including President Abraham Lincoln
and President John F. Kennedy
and how their courage to make tough choices helped change the world students live in today. He also highlighted several Bolles alumni who have shared similar qualities – including former record-setting sky diver Col. Joseph W. Kittinger ’46
and Travis Tygart ‘89
, the attorney and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO who charged cyclist Lance Armstrong