Elementary and middle school students celebrated Black History Month on Thursday by participating in a Living Wax Museum at Greenwood’s Community Initiatives Neighborhood Center. The event was rescheduled from Feb. 26 because of inclement weather.
“Just because it’s not Black History Month (in March) doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate,” Program Coordinator JaLeesa Wideman said, adding the event helped students celebrate “in a different way.”
“Every child chose a Black History icon,” she said. “They dressed up like them and portrayed them for the day.”
The living wax museum, a first for the center, included portrayals of famous people such as Benjamin E. Mays, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., NBA stars Lebron James and Russell Westbrook, jazz singer Billie Holliday and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Two of the students portrayed Greenwood representatives who attended the event.
Greenwood County Councilwoman Edith S. Childs was portrayed by Westview Middle School seventh-grader Etoria Flemmings. According to Wideman, Flemmings has been with the Community Initiative since June.
“She (Flemmings) is one of our leaders,” Wideman said. “She doesn’t hesitate to do things when she is asked to help.”
“I thought she did a super job,” Councilwoman Childs said. “I thank the Community Initiative for the Black History Month event.”
Westview Middle School eighth-grader Timothy Sprowl portrayed Sen. Floyd Nicholson of Greenwood.
According to Wideman, Sprowl has adjusted well to the daily routine of the center.
“He is a great asset,” Wideman said. “He was shy at first.”
“I’m very happy with what they’re doing here at the Community Initiative,” Nicholson said. “They’ve shown a positive impact. They are instilling history.”
“Each participant participated well,” Wideman said. “(The event) helped improve their reading skills with words they had trouble with.”
She said she was happy to see each student’s character come through.
“They went from not being interested at first, but did a lot of research, and the families helped put the costumes together.”
Wideman considered Thursday’s event as a benefit for the community.
“It was an emotional feel-good (performance),” she said, adding she loved seeing the parent’s reactions.
Executive Director Teresa Goodman said she thought the students did an “excellent job.”
“It was their first time,” Goodman said. “They were brought out of their comfort zone.”