WOHS celebrates Black History Month at annual scholarship dinner

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — The annual Black History Scholarship Dinner at West Orange High School on Feb. 9 provided an evening of performances celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments, achievements and struggles of the black community. The event was presented by the Student Council and advisers Catherine Connors, Jodi Costanza and Krista Romanyshyn.

“We are here to celebrate hope, perseverance, strength and pride together as one community,” Principal Hayden Moore said. “West Orange High School is a great example of diversity where you can be who you are, be accepting and recognize those who came before to blaze the trail.”

Guest speaker Kian Brown, director of enrollment and graduate relations at Momentum Education and a leader with the Montclair Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, encouraged audience members to open lines of communication with one another and to change their mindsets about themselves.

Brown emphasized several keys to achieve change, telling everyone present: “You matter.”

“People in the background are just as much a leader as the one on the mike. Treat everyone like a million bucks,” Brown said. “Innovate, collaborate, facilitate and communicate, and do not isolate yourself.”

Following dinner, students presented musical, dance and poetry performances. The Jubilee Choir brought the audience to their feet and the boys’ and girls’ step teams raised spirits and pride.

“Our 2018 Black History Month Scholarship Dinner was a joyous celebration of black culture, showcasing the enormous wealth of student talent, passion and eloquence in song, dance and spoken-word poetry,” Board of Education Vice President Mark Robertson said. “It is always beautiful to see the diversity of the students enthusiastically participating in celebrating black history in camaraderie with their friends and classmates. I am so thankful for the dedication and love of teachers who volunteered to coordinate this celebration, Mrs. Costanza and Mrs. Romanyshyn, now in their fourth year, and Ms. Connors who joined them this year.”

Photos Courtesy of WOSD