BRADENTON -- Black History Month celebrates everyone's history, whether black, white, Asian, Hispanic or any other ethnicity, Rogers Garden Elementary School Principal Latrina Singleton told her elementary school students Wednesday afternoon.
"It's all of our history," she said to students gathered in the cafeteria/auditorium for the school's first Black History Month celebration.
The assembly included after-school enrichment students performing a ribbon dance, two students from Booker High School performing dance routines and a showing of a 14-minute documentary called "Living Dream" created by a State College of Florida student.
Tarnisha Cliatt, the school registrar, helped form a committee to organize the event, saying it was "dreadful," the school had never had a celebration in the past. The month-long celebration included having fifth-grade students interview prominent black leaders in the community.
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"We wanted to focus on excellence in African-American history," Cliatt said.
In the documentary created by 34-year-old Travis Pendergrass, 25 members of the urban community answered three different questions: what success meant to them, one obstacle they've faced and what piece of advice they would give to others to be successful. One of the resounding themes was education is a key factor for success, which is why Pendergrass said the documentary is important for students to see.
"It shows them that despite your background, despite your origin, success is attainable." Pendergrass said.
Rogers Garden is one of the most diverse schools in the county in student and teacher makeup, Singleton said, which makes coming to work each day a joy. Regardless of the student's background, education is the path to success, she said.
"The key opportunity that you all have is your education," she said.
On Thursday, the school will host a Black History Month night for students and their families.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.