Hazel students ‘Feel the Beat’ at annual celebration

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Hazel Elementary School held its sixth annual “Feel the Beat” program, much to the delight of students, staff and parents, who came out in force to celebrate Black History Month and enjoy an evening of music, dance and spoken word.

Fatou Mbaye-Halsey, Mten Halsey, Principal Ana Marti, Porl Gordon, Phyllis Seibert, Anne Betkowski, Joyce Soto and Michelle Ledesma formed the core group organizing the evening. 

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade contributed to the program. The Hazelettes danced to “Lean on Me”; kindergarteners presented poems “The Lion and The Mouse” and “Beautiful Blackbird”; first and second graders presented a poem on African American history and a dance called “Hip Hop: the First Music” third graders presented a poem on African culture; fourth graders presented a poem on Sundiata Keita, the prince who founded the Mali Empire; and fifth graders presented a poem on Africa and African American history. For the first time ever, the newly-formed Hazel theater group performed vignettes from “The Lion King” in song and dance.

The popular Umoja Dance Group closed out the program with energetic African folk dancing.

“This is my first ‘Feel the Beat’ and I am excited to be here,” Principal Ana Marti said. “I’m so thankful for our parents, students and staff for this amazing celebration.”

Photos Courtesy of WOSD