Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the role of black people in U.S. history. Arlington Public Schools is celebrating Black History Month with a series of community events and African-American Read-Ins at our schools.
Black History PSA by Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson
As part of the annual commemoration, APS will host the community event: We Are Arlington, on February 13th at Kenmore Middle School, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The event will celebrate black student leaders from our high schools. These students were nominated by APS staff for their exceptional leadership qualities, their demonstration of school spirit and their contributions inside and outside of the classroom. The Office of the Superintendent and the School Board will also recognize these exemplary students, listed below, at the School Board meeting on Thursday, February 6 at 7 p.m.
2020 Black Student Leader Honorees
Faisal Mohammed embodies all the best qualities of leadership. As part of the inaugural class of Arlington Tech at Arlington Career Center, he leads by example by his kindness, integrity and innovative spirit. Through his advocacy to educate the values of being a Muslim, a prayer room was created so that students would have a quiet place to go to observe their prayers. He helped build school spirit and pride as a member of the first Ultimate Frisbee Team at ACC. This year, as a student in the first senior class of Arlington Tech, Faisal is interning every afternoon as part of his Senior Capstone experience at STANTEC, the architectural firm that is designing Career Center’s expansion. Finally, he will leave a legacy at Arlington Career Center by installing solar panels on ACC’s first Off the Pike Food Truck. ACC is proud to have Faisal Mohammed be our student leader to be honored for Black History Month!
Abel Daniel is a dedicated student focused on his future and puts forth his best effort in all that he does, balancing school and his life commitments beautifully. He is always positive, upbeat, and considerate; and a leader in the school and in every class he takes. He models the values we try to instill in our students – empowerment, self-direction, determination, and academic skills. He is diligent in his studies and is not only incredibly reliable, but also is an inquisitive learner seeking answers to every question. He values his education and is working extremely hard to reach his goals. He is the perfect representative of our school for all of his positive qualities.
Joana Agboka is a junior at H-B Woodlawn. She is a positive, outgoing, and driven student who has succeeded academically and socially since starting at HBW her freshman year. In addition, Joana is an active participant in the Arlington Public School’s ROTC program – regularly attending ROTC classes and events. Joana has great relationships with many adults and students in the building. She is a leader of the Young People of Color club, and a member of the H-B Woodlawn Equity and Excellence Cohort. Through her work with these two organizations, Joana has helped produce two Black History Month Talent shows, and she is a strong advocate around issues of equity and social justice.
Meeting Faith, I would have never known that she didn’t speak until she was four years old. When I first met her as a freshman, she had already made her voice heard. Her teachers adored her as one who answered questions, helped her classmates and volunteered for everything. These were just some of the reasons she was named the person “Most Likely to be President” by her teachers. She challenges herself academically and is an Advance Placement Capstone Diploma Candidate. In addition to core academics she has performed in the Advanced Band and Marching Band all four years. She has been active in student government all four years. With her involvement in the executive board all four years, she has helped raise $20,000 for her class. She been a member of the Poetry Club all four years, member of United Minority Girls Group junior and senior years, and a member of National Honor Society working on peer tutoring, career oriented student development services and fundraising for NHS.
Jasmine is one of the students the rest of the student body looks up to. She sets a good example for all Generals to follow. She is an outstanding student inside and outside of the classroom. Jasmine is an incredible athlete and not only is skilled, but a positive force on the court that motivates others to do their best. When her name was mentioned as a possible selection, the entire W-L administrative team agreed unanimously. She is very deserving of this recommendation.
Galilee Ambellu is a Yorktown senior. Galilee is committed to serving others as is evidenced by her two-year tenure as president of Yorktown’s Key Club and her representation of Arlington County teens on the Arlington County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee. She served as a volunteer at Virginia Hospital Center for two years. She is academically curious and challenges herself to take advanced level classes, earning a 4.19 GPA. She is a scholar-athlete, having participated in Yorktown’s girls’ basketball teams and the outdoor track team, earning a varsity letter. Galilee is an enthusiastic leader and learner. Her contributions as a member of Yorktown’s Student Government Association Executive Board and to both the Principal’s Advisory Board and the Counselor’s Advisory Board have been invaluable. Her contributions to our sports programs as well as our clubs have improved the overall team and student experience and her mentorship of Yorktown’s freshmen has eased their transition from middle school so that they now experience academic and social emotional success. Galilee’s peers listen to her and are positively influenced by her and her teachers express a great deal of appreciation for her abilities, finding her approachable and helpful.
First Families of Arlington County were honored at the We Are Arlington event. These families were selected for the contributions they have made, and continue to make, in the Arlington Community.
Black History Month Events
Feb. 1 – McKinley students in all grade levels will be reading and researching more about African American heritage and contributions of famous African Americans during library. Facts celebrating African American heritage will be highlighted on the news for the month of February. 5th graders will be researching and creating teaching tools (posters, GoogleSlides, and/or iMovies, etc…) about famous African Americans from history and today to share with students in grades K-4.
Feb. 8 – The Hall’s Hill/High View Park Historic Preservation Coalition will unveil a portrait of Lillian E. Brown, whom the Langston-Brown Community Center is named after, in honor of her contributions, dedication and commitment to Arlington and the Hall’s Hill/High View Park Community. The event will take place at the Langston-Brown Community Center and will begin at 2 p.m.
Feb. 12 – Thomas Jefferson Middle School will present their Annual Black History Month program. Showtimes are 8:05 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.
Feb. 14 – Alice West Fleet Elementary School will present their African American Heritage Celebration. Showtime 9:30 a.m.
Feb. 25 – Join us in the Barrett Library from 6:30 – 7:30 pm to celebrate Black History Month. We will start the night with The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, learning about some famous Arlingtonians and the role Arlington played in the civil rights movement. Then, we’ll learn about two famous Virginians – Maggie Walker and Arthur Ashe Jr. Students will get to make their own piggy bank and/or tennis racket to remember Maggie Walker and Arthur Ashe Jr.
Feb. 26 – Taylor Elementary School will host the Annual African American Read-In by highlighting the themes love, togetherness, hopefulness, happiness, inner beauty and strength. Taylor students will give performances focused on the prolific work of poetry giant, Langston Hughes and Kwame Alexander, Angela Johnson, an American writer of children’s books and poetry, and Grace Byer. Showtimes are 9:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m
Feb. 27 – Kenmore Middle School will host African American Read-In Day from 8:30 – 2:00 p.m. Sign- up sheet coming soon.
Feb. 28 – The Arlington Career Center presents Ain’t No Stopping Us Now from 1 – 1:40 p.m. The program will feature the children’s choir, a fashion show and spoken word.
Feb. 29 – The 28th Annual Feel The Heritage Festival. This free Black History Month event at Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School will feature live music and dance, vendors, free activities for kids, delicious food, and many more activities for all to enjoy.
*This page will continually be updated with additional events, so please check back soon for additional events.