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Episode 76: West Jordan Middle School Students Highlight Black History Heroes Who Inspire

West Jordan Middle School students are using morning announcements to highlight a number of inspirational black history heroes during the month of February, which is Black History Month. Some Utah Jazz players like Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors are doing the same on a three-part Youtube series called “Black History Heroes.”

On today’s episode of the Supercast, we hear from some Utah Jazz players featured in the Youtube series. But first, we head out to West Jordan Middle School where morning announcements are about to begin.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. West Jordan Middle School students are using morning announcements to highlight a number of inspirational black history heroes during the month of February, which is Black History Month. Some Utah jazz players like Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors are doing the same in a three part YouTube series called "Black History Heroes." On today's episode of the Supercast we hear from some Utah Jazz players featured on the YouTube series. But first we head out to West Jordan Middle School where morning announcements are about to begin:

Dixie Garrison:
So the staff and students give me a heartbeat. Today is Thursday, February 25th, and it is an even day today. During Pride Time, we will be showing a video in the auditorium about the Utah Jazz players and their heroes. This video centers around Black History Month. You should have already signed up through efficiency under Mr. Hunter for Black History Month.

Student:
For Black History Month the Black and Proud Crew will be highlighting black Americans, drought history. If you're able to tell Ms. Monson or Ms. Gibbons all the names throughout the week, you will win.

Student:
Our spotlight for today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Martin was an African American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in 1955 until his assassination in 1968.

Dixie Garrison:
And as always, we love you. We care about you. Learning is important. Being here is important. Let's have a fantastic Thursday. Okay.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm here at West Jordan Middle school talking with student members of the Black and Proud Crew on one of the days that they have been honoring Black History Month with announcements that honor black figures in history. And so I'm going to talk with Camden. Tell me a little bit about the highlights that have been happening this month.

Student:
You've been highlighting all these different African-Americans for example, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me your name.

Student:
Jerome Miles.

Anthony Godfrey;
Jerome, what is your favorite figure that's been highlighted this month?

Student:
Jesse Owens.

Anthony Godfrey:
Jesse Owens. Tell me about Jesse Owens.

Student:
Well, he was a track star and I liked sports. So that's mainly why, I picked him.  I like sports.

Anthony Godfrey:
And it took some courage on his part to compete in some of those events.

Student:
Yeah, I did.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Rosa Parks. Why is that?

Student:
Because she made a stand for what she believed in to sit on the bus and she was brave enough to sit there, knowing that she was going to get arrested.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me your name.

Student:
My name is Shoday.

Anthony Godfrey:
Shoday what figure stood out for you?

Student:
Ruby Ridges because she was the first black girl to go to a white school and it was crazy because back then it wasn't normal for black and white people to go to the same school. So since she was the first person that was a black of color to go to school, it was like crazy. She went through a bunch of stuff at such a young age and she put up with it too. She didn't complain because she knew that she went to a good school. So she went through all that stuff, knowing that grown people and little kids were being rude because of the color of her skin. And that has a big part in history. And now, today, everybody goes to the same school.

Anthony Godfrey:
We can kind of take it for granted now almost that that everyone goes to school together.

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me your name.

Student:
Hazel.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about your favorite to figure that's been highlighted this month.

Student:
Martin Luther King Jr. as well, just because there's so much to learn about him and so many different things that he did.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me more about what the Black and Proud Crew does. I see that you have a painting activity this Friday. Is that right? Tell me a little bit about that.

Student:
This Friday, people who signed up are going to meet here. We're having a paint night where we can learn how to paint a picture of the elephant that Jerome has picked for us. And it's everyone who signed up to join and it would just be a fun learning experience.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's a really cool looking painting, and I would be very impressed with myself if I was ever to paint that. So I really wish I could come to your activity. What other things have been sponsored by the Black and Proud Crew?

Student:
Friday, it was the last two weeks ago, there were kids coming in and, it depends on how many kids came. So we did a King of the Court type of play. There'll be five people on the team. And so on each team, there's five kids and whoever won that would stay on the court and another group of five would come on and whoever won the whole thing got candy. Well, everybody got candy.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, there's a good event. Everybody gets candy. That's a good start.

Student:
Everybody got candy. We just felt better.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. It sounds as if you've had a great variety of activities. Let's talk with Ms. Monson. You are the advisor for the Black and Proud Crew, is that correct?

Teacher:
Yes, it's me Christa Gibbons and Chelsea Chaco, who are the advisors for the students.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the other activities that the Black and Proud Crew has been involved in?

Teacher:
So we hosted NEMA a couple of weeks ago. And along with NEMA, they showed us one an art featuring black heritage and black history. And so he talks about the textile of the art. And then after they talked about the art piece, we watched Levered Community, which highlighted a lot of black Americans in Utah. We had like a black pastor and talked about how his life was growing up. And we had the first black teacher in Davis District and how she was able to actually reach one of her students in the third grade. And so then they became a teacher. And so it just talks about the different lives of people living in the State of Utah and how they were able to progress through their certain trials.

Anthony Godfrey:
And every day of Black History Month, there's been another historical figure featured?

Teacher:
Yeah. So in January we meet every Friday with the students. They came up with a PowerPoint and so they picked all the people. We had Beyonce, Jesse Owens, Barack Obama. So the kids came up with who they wanted to spotlight, they found pictures for it. They found the excerpts and they put it in the PowerPoint that we show and share with the rest of the school. So every day they're able to pick someone who they wanted to spotlight and highlight.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's a great way to celebrate black history month. And it sounds like from talking with the students, they've learned a lot about black history that they weren't previously aware of.

Teacher:
That's our goal.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back, we hear from Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors talking about their black history heroes.

Break:
If you're ready to start your child on the path to personalized learning, we are ready to help. The Jordan Virtual Learning Academy is coming to Jordan School District in the 2021-22 school year. Three new schools will be opening as part of the Academy: Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School, Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School and Kings Peak High School. Each school will have their own principal and teachers and each will give students a choice in their own learning. The schools will offer synchronous learning, which is teachers providing real time, live online instruction and asynchronous learning where teachers provide videotaped instruction for learning on a student's schedule to register your student in the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, visit http://connectjordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
Welcome back. As we told you earlier, some Utah Jazz Players are featured in a new series talking about their black history heroes. Donovan Mitchell's hero is the late baseball great Jackie Robinson. Here's what Donovan had to say.

Donovan Mitchell:
"You know, for me, obviously growing up, being, from a baseball background, I've always looked at Jackie Robinson as one of those guys who is a pioneer in the game. You know, you look at what he had to go through, from racial injustice to the famous story of him getting cleated, you know, an ankle that you had to go through. So many different hurdles and walls and obstacles to become who he was as a player and as a person. And what he stood for, that always stands out to me. For myself coming up, just being able to see a guy who not only transcended the game with his play, but how he dealt with people off the field."

"You know, he went through so many vigorous things just to be able to play the game baseball that he loved. And for me, my parents, my coaches, everyone talked about Jackie Robinson as a hero because he was just that guy that who went out here and led his game. He did the talking, no matter how many threats, no matter how much stuff was going on in his personal life, being the first black player in the major leagues. But he just went out there and did his thing and did it with such grace and such honor. And didn't really let all the other noise affect that and transcended the game for us African-American men."

Anthony Godfrey:
Derrick Favors chose the late US Representative John Lewis, as his hero.

Derrick Favors:
"John Lewis, the reasons why I'm from Atlanta, and he's from Atlanta. He did a lot of great things. He recently passed away and that was sort of a big thing in the community for us. Just all the things he's done in his lifetime to make a positive impact in the African-American community and also in the country as well. But he did a lot of great things like from marching with Martin Luther King to winning numerous awards. He was just a great role model, a great person who thought about everybody else who thought about uplifting everyone. And you know, he was one of my heroes, so you're never too young or too old to make a difference, no matter what it is."

Anthony Godfrey:
And you can hear from more Utah Jazz players in their series, Black History Heroes on the Utah Jazz on YouTube channel. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Supercast. And remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you out there.

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