On February 28, the Carlos Rosario School marked the end of Black History Month with its annual festival at the Sonia Gutierrez Campus. The evening event celebrated the School’s community by featuring musical performances, dance, student-led acts, student artwork, and small business entrepreneur tables. This program provided the Carlos Rosario School and local community with a great opportunity to reflect on, learn more about, and experience the richness of black cultures in the United States and around the world.
The attendees enjoyed a show where students from a variety of cultures shared their talents. Lilibeth Miranda Rodriguez from Colombia, sang a rendition of the songs “Golden” and “El Equipaje” with her band. Marthe Ngo Djon Epse Niba and Godefroy Cheumaga from Cameroon performed African traditional dances as the audience waved and joined in the song.
The event featured a live painting by an ESL Arts student, Yowhannes Weldeslasie from Eritrea, who seeks through his work to capture, translate or reinterpret true emotions and to evoke deep sentiments from those who see it. Meanwhile, student entrepreneurs from various African countries were selling handmade accessories, soaps and snacks.
The festival also included an interview between the Ghanaian student Musah Swallah and the Sonia Gutierrez Campus’ Student Services Director, Selvon Waldron. Musah’s paintings reflect his experience in various African cultures and his objective is to render the daily lives of people on canvas. The event also honored Black History Month essay contest winners from both campuses, who all focused on the theme “I dream of becoming…”
The significance of Black History Month and how it relates to Carlos Rosario was highlighted during the evening festival by a parade of flags led ESL 7 students, representing 32 countries from Africa and the Caribbean.
“At our School we see these heritage months as an opportunity to learn and challenge ourselves to grow in our understanding and appreciation for the contributions of our brothers and sisters,” said the School’s CEO Allison Kokkoros. The Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, Mamadou Samba, recounted his struggles as a black African immigrant. He then encouraged students to believe in themselves, to continue to inspire each other and to never give up their values and identity.
In his invocation, the School’s Assistant Registrar Girum Mulat shared his hardship in Africa and experience of an immigrant in the U.S. The School’s Board Member Yeshimebeth Belay invited students to share their dreams with teachers and staff, be proud of their heritage, and to learn from each other.