Carmel Academy's Students Delve Into Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Carmel Academy’s students delved into learning about the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation's history. Each morning, as students entered school, they were greeted with an informative slide and video featuring a famous black American including: choreographer Alvin Ailey, Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, jazz musician Duke Ellington, medical researcher Dr. Charles Drew, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and writer Zora Newal Hurston to name a few.  After watching the morning video, students learned more about each featured person in their classrooms, while in music class students were introduced to musical genres from black culture including blues, jazz and soul.

“In these times, it is really critical for all students to recognize the unique contributions that people of all races and backgrounds have made on this wonderful country, and the lasting legacy these activists, scientists, writers, artists, athletes, choreographers, musicians and scientists have made on American culture. Our students have also recognized the bravery many of these historical figures exhibited,” said Jennifer Gensior, Carmel’s Director of General Studies Curriculum.
In celebration of Black History Month, Carmel Academy’s students delved into learning about the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation's history.

Each morning, as students entered school, they were greeted with an informative slide and video featuring a famous black American including: choreographer Alvin Ailey, Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, jazz musician Duke Ellington, medical researcher Dr. Charles Drew, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and writer Zora Newal Hurston to name a few.

After watching the morning video, students learned more about each featured person in their classrooms, while in music class students were introduced to musical genres from black culture including blues, jazz and soul.

“In these times, it is really critical for all students to recognize the unique contributions that people of all races and backgrounds have made on this wonderful country, and the lasting legacy these activists, scientists, writers, artists, athletes, choreographers, musicians and scientists have made on American culture. Our students have also recognized the bravery many of these historical figures exhibited,” said Jennifer Gensior, Carmel’s Director of General Studies Curriculum.

“It’s never too early to learn about the important influence African Americans have had on the country we are today,” Gensior said.

In fact, Carmel Academy’s youngest students in transitional kindergarten learned about Ella Jenkins, a children’s educator and musician who is famously known for her use of call-and-response singing, said Transitional Kindergarten teacher Diane Holsten. “We not only do the musical sounds, but we combine it with movements. While we use this technique often, we took this opportunity to teach the students who Ella Jenkins was and her role in our country’s history,” Holsten said.

Fifth grader Eden Citron said learning about black Americans who influenced history is an important lesson for her and her classmates. “There is not a lot of racial diversity at school, so this is so important to learn about African Americans. I am really thankful to have this opportunity.”

“I am so happy that our school is taking black history month so seriously,” said fifth grader Arielle Seligmann. “We are very privileged with the opportunities we have and we need to remember that most of the people we are learning about faced a lot of challenges.”

“There are so many things wrong with history and we need to learn about that so those same mistakes aren't made today. We can make a change in our own way,” Arielle said.
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  • Carmel Academy is a private school for children of all Jewish affiliations, serving children from transitional kindergarten through 8th grade.

Carmel Academy is a recipient of UJA Greenwich, the United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County and The UJA Federation on New York.