“We put this on for awareness so kids can learn something new about other cultures that they didn’t know before,” said Teresa Bowen, a teacher at Portsmouth Elementary School. “It’s all about learning. We’re in the business of learning. And whatever we can do to spark their interest and get them to learn more effectively, that is what we are for.“
One of the main speakers for the event was the Rev. Clarence Parker, president of the Portsmouth City School Board.
“The intent of it is to share information with the kids in regards to some of the outstanding African-Americans who have made contributions to American history,” Parker said.
“I’m specifically talking about a gentleman by the name of Alexander Lucius Twilight. He was an educator, a preacher, a developer of some programs that help kids up in Vermont.”
Several students, Jahmir King, Aaliyah Langford, Semajah Parker, Jacob Fraley and Destiny Layne, also profiled other well-known African-Americans, and the Portsmouth Elementary School choir performed two songs.
Among other events at the assembly, James Hairston gave a presentation on Portsmouth first black doctor, longtime Scioto County Coroner James F. Scott.
“We want our students to aspire to greatness,” Portsmouth City Schools Superintendent Scott Dutey said. “And to be able to share stories of individuals who have achieved greatness and who have had to go through all kinds of obstacles and overcome wrong odds in the case of many of them, to be able to share that with our students I think is a wonderful thing — to show them that, yes, they are capable. Yes, we all have problems and we all have issues, but these folks have managed to overcome and succeed, you can too.”