Albany's Southside Middle celebrates black history

Southside students dance

Black History Month comes to a close next week and students at Southside Middle School decided to send it out with a bang. School officials told us that some students have been preparing for the event for three years. Judging from the crowd's reaction, all that practice definitely paid off.

The celebration seemed more like a party than a school event. It included music from the Freedom Singers, skits, dancing, and performances from the legends of Motown's past.

The goal of the program was to inspire students about the future by educating them about their cultural past. "We go through the history as we teach the dance," said Gloria Isaac. "We go through the history as we teach the skit. We got through the history as we learn the song."

Coach and celebration coordinator James McDaniels says the production was a team effort between students, faculty, and parents. "The kids worked diligently after school, Saturdays. We probably had 100 plus students participate in the program," said McDaniels.

In past years, Southside celebrated black history month in a more traditional way â" with a few historical speakers. But organizers wanted this year's event to have more impact by providing a hands-on learning experience for the students.

"They're getting all the kids involved in participating in the black history program â" what it's done to change their minds about their own lives and where they came from," said McDaniels.

"I hope students learn that through all hard work, any hard work that they do, they can accomplish anything," said Isaac.

Isaac is one of the finalists for Dougherty County Teacher of the Year and one of the reasons is all the work she puts into Southside's Black History Month celebration. Terry. . .

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