BDCHS art winners pictured with Mrs. Mitchell

Last week, the BDCHS arts department hosted their annual Black History Month Celebration, which included artwork, musical performances from BDCHS and other schools, keynote speakers, art competition results, and more.

Prior to the event officially starting, attendees were welcome to peruse the hallways to judge the door decorations for Black History Month and cast their vote for their favorite. The winning door was Mr. Cram’s, which featured illustrations from films renowned for the Black roles and all-Black film directors including Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and “Us”. 

While attendees found their seats, they were able to embark on a gallery walk of student art pieces and view tables including Moffitt Cancer Center and African-American children’s literature. The event began with a performance of “Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder, introduced by trombonist Talise Samayoa, who explained the song’s significance to the world of music, especially jazz. The song was played by the Symphonic Band, which is composed of students who have spent at least one year on their chosen instrument. Following that, audience members rose in honor of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, performed by the BDCHS Chamber Choir. Later, the choir would perform “Stand Up” from the musical “Harriet”, arranged by Roger Emerson with soloists Naylanee Verna and Viannee Rosa-Arroyo. Viannee went on to perform “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston as a solo, receiving roaring applause and standing ovation from the audience.

Afterward, the Walton Academy for Performing Arts presented a youth song and dance performance. Tanika Walton, one of the founders of the academy promoted their upcoming 20th annual reunion concert. Following that was Keynote Speaker Dr. Allyssa Jones, who spoke about pioneering a cause, and the struggle of self-determination and gratifying nature of aspiring for one’s passions. Dr. Jones additionally discussed her publishing assistance program “Rising Tide Music Press”, which sets out to support composers of color. 

Later on, the USF chamber choir performed vocal tributes to black anthems, history, and strength. Thereafter, Derrick Brooks took to the podium to thank Mrs. Mitchell for coordinating the event, and to thank all of the contest submissions and performers, saying “let’s take a moment to celebrate each other.” Following that, Mr. Kensky introduced Barbara Tripp, the first black female fire chief in Tampa, who went on to speak about the value of breaking barriers and persevering through adversity and the greatness of challenging yourself. Tripp said “Don’t see me as the Black female fire chief. I just want to be a good leader, who just happens to be a woman and a person of color.”

More guest presenters followed, including Black Business Owner and Operator Deidra Washington, followed by the Buffalo Soldiers (the Calvary Regimen and Motorcycle Club). The Buffalo Soldiers are a post-civil war group of freed enslaved people and Black soldiers that fought in the Spanish-American war and World War 1. The Tampa Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers was one of the first chapters established, and is dedicated to service and scholarships and community outreach.

Next, awards were presented by National Art Honor Society presidents for the elementary, middle, and high school divisions, as well as Students With Disabilities recognition. The BDCHS high school division winners are pictured above.

The program concluded with a free soul food potluck provided in the cafeteria. Up next for BDCHS artists will be the portfolio and fashion showcase on April 18th.