Marshall Elementary School fifth-grader William Flakes portrays U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall during the school’s Black History Expo.
HOUSTON – March 1, 2017 – A group of Marshall Elementary School students, working all month under the guidance of faculty mentors, culminated the school’s Black History Month observances with an expo on Friday, Feb. 24. The event was designed to educate their classmates, together with visitors to the campus, about some well-known – and some lesser-known – African-Americans who together helped make history through their contributions in the arts and sciences, sports, medicine, law and foreign affairs. The participating students are all part of the school’s Distinguished Young Men of Excellence (DYME) program, a mentoring group formed earlier this year.
“Throughout Black History Month the students have been on the announcements daily reading short compositions on prominent African-Americans, and they’ve been working on these projects with their mentors, getting ready for today’s culminating event when they’re presenting their work to their classmates,” said Marshall Principal Diana Kimberly.
The mentor program grew up organically out of the desire of administrators and teachers to help support students’ personal and classroom growth.
“We wanted them to have confidence, and we just wanted to work on building a brotherhood among them,” said Tonika Cramond, the Marshall teacher who wrote up the proposal for the program. “Building that sense of confidence in them – both socially and academically – that was the inspiration, to help build those traits in these young men.”
Students who participated in the Black History Month event, along with their chosen historical figures, are:
- Jajuan Campbell – Augustus Jackson (Chef and confectioner, dubbed “The Father of Ice Cream”)
- William Flakes – Thurgood Marshall (First African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice)
- Trey Hartford – Mae Jemison (First African-American woman in space)
- Derrick Holmes – Garrett Morgan (Inventor)
- Jaidin Jones – Muhammad Ali (Professional boxer)
- Kwesi Kelman – George Washington Carver (Botanist and inventor)
- Jeremy Kennedy – Charles Drew (Physician, surgeon and medical researcher)
- Tim McGrough – Benjamin Banneker (Naturalist, farmer and almanac author)
- AJ Sanchez – Jackie Robinson (First African-American to play Major League Baseball)
- James Taplin – Colin Powell (Retired U.S. Army General and former U.S. Secretary of State)
Additional DYME events planned for the spring include a group outing to attend a Houston Astros baseball game and a behind-the-scenes visit to George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where students will explore how the airport is run and learn more about careers in aviation.
“The mentoring program has been very successful so far; it’s been exciting,” Kimberly said.