February 14, 2023
By Pickerington Online Intern Hope Schmidt
There is no question that the month of February is full of passion, love and appreciation for one another. However, students at Pickerington High School Central (PHSC) are taking that passion, love and appreciation one step further in honor of Black History Month.
February 14-16, the students and staff of PHSC are celebrating the importance of Black History Month with a live production full of singing, dancing, acting and fashion.
The show will be presented to sophomores and seniors on February 14, juniors and freshmen on February 15 and to the community February 16th. The community show will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the PHSC theater. You can purchase your own $7 admission ticket online at Central’s box office.
“The 2023 BHM production displays the talents and gifts of students at Pickerington Central High school to highlight black excellence,” explained director Kierra Washington.
The cast of the production is made from a diverse pool of more than 100 young, creative minds.
“All the performers are amazing kids,” Washington said. “We have top athletes, top five in their class, theater kids, kids whom this is their first time hitting a stage or struggling with anxiety, our amazing special education students who are so excited to be included, band kids and the list goes on and on. All of which are passing all their classes and exhibit great leadership throughout the building and community.”
More than 100 students are involved in this production.
“Everyone from our dancers, actors, stage crew, ticket scanners, et cetera have been required to sign an academic and behavior contract stating that they must not only be behaving and making it to class, but they are required to pass every class to participate,” Washington said. “Although we love to put students on stage for the production, we’d much rather hold them accountable so they can make the stage for graduation”
The production has allowed students to make friends that have become family. They look forward to participating, which holds them accountable in their schoolwork.
“We work for six months straight to prepare for this and take lots of pride in our work and how we display our history and our culture,” Washington said. “Additionally, the black history production is diverse and open to everyone because black history is everyone’s history!”
Sevin McClendon served as dance leader and choreographed dances for several decades. Princess Ogoe took charge of the African Dances and Hero Dessalange created the fashion show.
“We also have our intermission coordinator who creates short dances and skits in between segments and transitions – Cayenne Evans,” Washington said.
The show also includes a play written by script leaders Preston Hudson and Nyla Martin, as well as a group of talented students from all backgrounds and grade levels.
“The goal is to have the whole show student lead with some guidance, so I add minimal input and step in when necessary,” Washington said.
The play tackles a tough question: “What is one of the biggest issues in the African American community?”
“A group of students comes together to solve it,” Washington said, “But, there are many hardships along the way and truths to be learned. The production will shine light on struggles in the African American community but will end with an overall message of unity and celebration.”
The production allows members of different cultural backgrounds to share the black community’s story, while highlighting the beauty and creativity of Central’s students.
“People need to see the show because it displays black excellence,” said Sevin McClendon. “It allows us and our cultures to be seen in a different light. It gives us the opportunity to have everyone’s undivided attention so they can focus not only on our singing, dancing and other forms of entertainment but to lock it and learn something from our powerful skits.”
Cayenne Evans agrees.
“The production is used to bring unity amongst people from all different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, sexual preferences and genders,” Evans said. “We unite through drama, dance and singing. We even use those opportunities to teach throughout our intermission with the help of our MC’s so the whole production is a learning experience. We make learning fun and entertaining!”
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