Can you name the first African American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize? While many would incorrectly answer, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” students at Scott Elementary School know that Ralph Bunche won the award in 1950—14 years before King—making him the first African American recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Responding to daily African American history trivia is just one way the students at Scott are celebrating Black History Month. Every day during the morning announcements, students listen as the black history trivia question of the day is presented. Leadership Support Specialist, Malvina Hadley, is coordinating Scott’s Black History Month events. She says seeing the students’ increased participation and enthusiasm for the trivia piece has been very refreshing.
“It’s been a big hit,” said Hadley. “After they hear the questions, they race to their classroom computers to look up the correct answers, and they can’t wait to put their answers in the answer box on the way from lunch. We’re seeing more and more participation every day.”
Trivia question winners receive school currency know as Scott Bucks, which they can use to purchase items from the school store. Scott Bucks are part of the school’s behavior modification program, and are generally issued as a reward for good behavior.
In addition to the trivia challenges, students have celebrated Black History Month by creating an African American Quilt; decorating school walls with Footprints in Time—paper footprints with the names and contributions of students’ favorite African Americans written on them; and a special luncheon featuring traditional African American foods on the menu.
The big event, however, was the school’s culminating activity, the Black History Month program. Students showed off their talent and black history knowledge as they performed in front of their peers, teachers and administrators. The program included African dancers, spoken word poetry by “The Langston Hughes Poets,” a presentation by Scott’s Tuskegee Airmen, a tribute to Whitney Houston and interviews with the Little Rock Nine, courtesy of Scott Elementary’s “channel seven nightly news.”
Scott’s interim principal, Jimmye Hawkins, says she is very pleased with the level of participation from the students and the staff at Scott. She thought it was very important to put the right amount of time and energy into Black History Month, because she wanted students to learn about their history, and more importantly she wanted students to know about the everyday people who served as trail blazers.
“I really want them to understand that it’s not about the flash and dash—it’s not just about the athletes and celebrities you see on TV,” Hawkins said. It’s about real, everyday people who worked hard and sacrificed to open doors for African Americans today.”