Black History Bowl tomorrow in flexes

Annie Curran, News Editor

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With posters of famous African Americans lining the hallway, Black History Month has officially kicked off at AHS. The posters, created by students in the Social Studies Honor Society, are among the many traditions that are occurring during the month of February. Students in each class are also preparing to compete in the annual Black History Bowl.

The Black History Bowl is sponsored by the Black Culture Awareness Association (BCAA) and the history department. Each grade will be represented by three students in the competition and the winning team receives $100 for their class treasury and $20-$25 for each team member. The event will be held during an extended W6 flex on Feb. 18 and teachers can sign their classes up to attend. The questions will range from historical events, music, famous athletes, politicians and other people who changed the course of history.

“The black culture is often not seen throughout daily life and it is a great culture that can be seen through many people,” senior and president of the BCAA Zeni Saife-Selassie said. “It is very vibrant and that is what started AHS on the road to diversity.”

The BCAA, which meets every Monday at 2:15 in room 287, has also contributed the Black History Month acts of the day to the afternoon announcements.

The turnout for participants for the bowl has been large this year. History teacher Joel Jepson, who is coaching the junior team, had eight students express interest and had to hold tryouts to limit the team down to three students. Out of the eight students who tried out, four are members of the Social Studies Honor Society. The junior team has been practicing with the It’s Academic buzzers to prepare for Friday. “I competed last year and I liked the competition and there’s a $100 prize,” junior Andy Tran said, who was trying out for Jepson’s team.

Each class coach has been holding practices with their students in preparation for the bowl. Though each sponsor would like their team to win, they are all keeping the good humored spirit of the competition intact. “I gave them packets on topics that we be covered. They are divided up so that each person can be more of an expert,” history teacher Gregory Commons said. “I’ve been doing this for three or four years.”

In addition to Jepson and Commons, history teacher Meghan Saladino is the coach of the sophomore team and health teacher Peggy Capehart is the coach of the freshman team.

According to the Library of Congress, the theme of National Black History Month is “African Americans and the Civil War.” The theme is especially topical because last year was the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The focus of this theme is how African Americans worked to earn freedom and equal civil rights. The month-long event is sponsored by the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, National Archives and Records Administration, National Park Service and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The event began as Negro History Week in 1926 during a week in February that encompassed both President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ birthday. In 1976, it was expanded to a month-long event, during the United States’ bicentennial and 50 years after the first Negro History Week.

As the participants of the bowl cram knowledge into their heads, many students are eagerly awaiting the competition. The winning award is something that each class could use in their treasury and the bragging rights are an excellent added bonus. For the BCAA and the history department, the bowl represents an attempt to educate the students about important people who made a difference in history. “[I hope that] people become more knowledgeable and tolerant about other cultures,” Saife-Selassie said.