Black History Month Projects Planned

Ken McLemore

HOPE – Recognition of Black History Month throughout the Hope Public Schools during February is already under way with projects and programs highlighting the Black presence in human history, culture and the American Civil Rights Movement.

Gifted and Talented program students at Clinton Primary School each year produce daily “Black History Moments” which are broadcast with morning announcements on campus.

CPS GT teacher Alvis Conway has spearheaded the project each year and expands the concept to the Hope Academy of Public Service campus this year. Students from both campuses will be recorded for local radio broadcast “Black History Moments” throughout the month.

Students in grades K-8 are participating in a Black History Month Poster Contest sponsored by the Hope Education Association.

HEA President Hosea Born said the theme of the contest is “Discover a Heroine or Hero in the Civil Rights Movement and What Makes Them Super.”

Students are to submit either digital or hard copy posters sized no larger than 18×24 inches and in PDF or PNG format if digital.

“This contest has been left open-ended for teachers and schools to have flexibility and decide what works best for them,” Born said in the contest announcement. “Each grade-based class can submit the top three to five posters from their students.”

One winner will be selected from each grade, with his/her class winning a donut party. Two overall winners in grades K-4 and 5-8 will be selected and their classes will win a pizza party. Winners are expected to be announced in late February.

A Black History Month panel discussion on the impact of Black music in Hope and Southwest Arkansas will be livestreamed via Facebook from the Hope High School library Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.

The theme “Perspectives on a Sound: A Conversation About Black Music in Hope” will be explored by panelists from Hope Public Schools and the community.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart.

Panelists will include:

–Richard Ware, Hope High School/UAHT Hope Collegiate Academy junior/sophomore student and Bobcat bands member. Ware has been a Bobcat Band member four years and was selected for the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association All-Region II Jazz Band last year. He also participates in HHS golf and baseball.

–Sandra Jones, retired Hope Public Schools vocal music teacher is a graduate of Rison High School who took a BSE in Music Education at the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff, Magna Cum Laude, in 1981. She took an MSE from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro in 1987. Jones has done post-graduate work at Memphis State University and at the University of Michigan, completing the ABD toward a doctorate there in 1999. She has taught vocal music and band studies in Arkansas since 1981, and was the vocal music teacher at Beryl Henry Elementary School from 2005 until her retirement in 2019.

–Jeff Madlock, former Hope Public Schools bands director, jazz/contemporary music performer, and technology coordinator for Hope Public Schools.

–Mark Keith, 38-year Southwest Arkansas broadcast radio veteran, former KXAR radio programmer, KHOA Hope radio operator-owner, KZHE radio Magnolia generalist, co-publisher of Hope/Prescott News and publisher of the Little River Journal in Ashdown, and bluegrass/gospel music performer.

The discussion will explore questions relative to Black music in Southwest Arkansas and American culture; local connections to Black music genres; historical aspects of the impact of Blacks from Hope and Southwest Arkansas in popular music; and, the value of Black music in public education.

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