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African American Heritage Celebration

In honor of Black History Month, the Elwood Center for Student Success hosted an African American Heritage Celebration Dinner on Monday, February 27.

The night, coordinated by Dr. Cynthia V. Taylor, was full of student-led music, dances, a motivational message, and a filling meal.

After being greeted and seated by a variety staff and students including Dr. Bowling, the night started out with multiple music selections performed by Jonathan Carr, Tyson Copeland, Charles DeLoach III, Alynn Franklin, Alyssa Franklin, and Courtney Griffin. Following the opening music, the audience stood and joined together to sing the Black National Anthem entitled “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.

Mr. Dennis Seymour, director of IT, then blessed the food before sophomore Tatiana Long greeted everyone and outlined the occasion.

“Let us honor diversity, celebrate unity, and have a glimpse of heaven on earth,” she said.

The winners of the Reed Essay contest for sophomores were then announced by Director of Elwood Student Success, Beth Olney, and were as follows: third place – Rachel Tobey, second place – Timmy Mayotte, and first place (with a prize of $500) – Jenny Cox.

The beginning portion of the dinner was then concluded by a powerful praise dance performed by a group of seven female students: freshman Tiffany Brown, sophomores Moriah Bridgeforth, Long, Minchette Robinson, Lateefah Williams,  and juniors Diana Raines and Amarii Sims. This dance was performed to the song “Free” by Kiara Sheard, which called on the audience to be free from the sins and limitations that are currently binding them.

Following the dance, tables were dismissed to eat their dinners, which was accompanied by Bridgeforth and Griffin singing a duet to “Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton.

Reverend Charles DeLoach III then took the stage as the speaker of the evening. DeLoach spoke on the impact that environment has on youth, giving the example that he does not know where he would be in life had he been raised in a different home and not been shown the love of Christ.

“If you are in Christ, that’s the only thing that will pull us together; if you are in Christ, we are brother and sisters under one God,” DeLoach said.

— Kyla Bledosoe

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