Capping Black History Month With Collard Greens And Style Glassboro Sixth Graders Learned Of History And Each Other.

Posted: March 05, 1995

GLASSBORO — Befitting a month in which students and parents admittedly learned things they had never known, Barbara Moore's sixth-grade class at the Thomas E. Bowe School ended February with a celebration of African American culture and food.

Led by master of ceremonies Brian Russell, the students performed for each other and a number of their parents, showing off what they had just learned during Black History Month.

Many of the students had multiple roles.

Not only did Toni DiBona, for example, play "Amazing Grace" on the flute, but she also had written a play that included scenes from the lives of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

Jaime Sacerdote, too, was busy. After reciting a poem that she and classmate Enjoli Marley had written, Jaime ran across the room, grabbed her viola, and played two songs.

"They did it all themselves," Moore proudly said of her students. "I just kind of supervised."

The children also talked about African American historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.

"We learned a lot about many different black people and how they helped history," Gregory Stone said.

"She (Moore) told us to put ourselves in the place of the slaves," Tiffani Rilley said.

They also learned about the relationships between blacks and whites during slavery.

"They thought they couldn't learn," Danielle Conto said of whites' attitudes toward slaves.

Justin Kersey said he learned more about black history last month than he ever had in the past.

"The best part was everybody got to do something," James Ambrose said.

"For the first time in a while, I didn't mind coming to school."

It was also a day for the students' families to get involved. Many brought food.

Jerry Kersey contributed a ham and watched his son Justin play the dual roles of Booker T. Washington and Dr. King.

Larry DiBona made sure to be on hand to watch the debut of his daughter Toni the playwright.

"They learned a lot of things they don't normally get," DiBona said. "I learned things as she went along."

The food was a major part of the celebration. Moore, who made several of the dishes herself, has incorporated food into her Black History Month program in each of the 11 years that she has taught in Glassboro.

"Every year, I say I'm not doing it again," she said, laughing.

As the students performed, aromas from a table topped with pig's feet, collard greens, cornbread, and sweet potatoes wafted through the classroom.

Turkey and green salad rounded out the menu for those reluctant to try the rest, although Moore encouraged everyone to sample all of the food.

"At least you can say you tasted it," she said.

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