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Liberty’s Bowie, Holden produce Black History Month program

MADISON – Eighth-graders Quincy Bowie and Jordan Holden have introduced a student-led program they hope will become a tradition at Liberty Middle School.

Bowie and Holden planned, practiced, organized and hosted their Black History Month program in sessions for seventh and eighth grades in the gym on Feb. 21.

“Jordan and I began talking about Black History Month and the lack of education and celebration about it in our experience in Madison City Schools. So, we decided, ‘Hey, let’s change that,'” Bowie said.

Friends since sixth grade, the pair grew closer this year as the only African-American students in English and science classes. “We kind of naturally gravitated towards each other. We can relate to each other’s experiences,” Bowie said.

First, they roused support for a program by contacting teachers “with connections to make things happen,” Bowie said. “We were met with an outpouring of support right off the bat.”

Next, Bowie and Holden proved their proposal’s reasonableness to administrators.

During production, using Google Docs and Slides confirmed everyone’s access to needed data. “Everyone already had accounts because we use these programs in school,” Holden said.

Their research involved both historical and current Black Americans with important legacies. Students compiled 28 Google slides, each featuring a person and quote.

The program featured African-American history/culture with a song by Liberty Choir, along with jazz and reggae by Liberty Band. Volunteers performed African dance, a Langston Hughes skit, reading of Maya Angelou’s “Why the Caged Bird Sings” and a student’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice/The Black American National Anthem.”

“We had a whole army backing us. There wasn’t a single person that wasn’t willing to help,” Holden said.

Bowie and Holden said the program succeeded by “112 percent. It was amazing to plan everything within three weeks and achieve such a high quality program,” Bowie said.

Liberty’s population and parents supported the production. “After the programs, teachers and administrators congratulated us saying what a good job we did,” Bowie said. Most significantly, their peers were pleased and proud.

“We are so proud of these two students for all that they did to make their vision a reality,” assistant principal Ambra Johnson said about the motivation, inspiration and leadership of Bowie and Holden.

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