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Peaceful march

Students at Butler Elementary celebrate Black history

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
RayZaria Parker, 9, a fourth-grader at Butler Elementary School, holds her sign high and proud during a peaceful march around the school on Friday. Students in all grade levels participated in the march after students learned about Black history during the month of February.

Words like “unity” and “love” were written on posters held by students in all grade levels at Butler Elementary School on Friday.

The students held the signs high and proud as they marched in and around the school with them. Upbeat music such as Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” played through the school’s speaker system.

RayZaria Parker, 9, a fourth-grader, held a sign that said, “All lives matter.” Brayden Weiss, 8, a third-grader, had the words “Love everyone” written on his sign.

The peaceful march was a culmination of the work students have put in during the month of February to learn about Black history.

“I feel so alive,” one student could be heard saying as he walked on the sidewalk outside of the school. Students and staff agreed it was a nice day for the March with temperatures in the 30s — much higher than temperatures in recent weeks.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Brayden Weiss, 8, a third-grader, is all smiles as he jogs with a sign he made for a peaceful march at Butler Elementary School on Friday.

Tonia Burrell, ABC coordinator, said students have been learning lessons about kindness, empathy, love, justice and equity.

“We have been doing those lessons while also talking about African American heroes and historical figures,” Burrell said. “The kids have really embraced it. They have enjoyed learning about it, not only during SEL time (social emotional learning), but all throughout the day they will talk about it.”

Kayla Roberts, school counselor, said for each week during the month of February students learned about a famous African American.

Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ruby Bridges and Harriet Tubman, were among the famous African American figures students learned about.

The school also created a video where students shared what they have learned.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Kelly Crinnigan, a first grade teacher at Butler Elementary School, walks with a sign she made for the school’s peaceful march on Friday. The march was a way to celebrate the lessons students have learned about Black history during the month of February.

“We pulled a student from each grade level to talk about what Black history means to them,” Roberts said.

Some of the things students said in the video included things like treating everyone fairly and not judging people by the color of their skin.

Roberts said students have been able to differentiate between slavery and segregation. Students have also learned how civil rights activists have contributed to the rights enjoyed by Americans today.

Roberts said the march was a way to reward students for their learning while also making the lessons hands-on.

“We had them make posters and march and show their representation on how they would contribute to Black history,” Roberts said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Damal Clayton, 7, left, and La’Daris Gully, 7, both first-graders at Butler Elementary School, hold a sign together during a peaceful march at the school on Friday.

Burrell said the students were looking forward to the march.

“They looked forward to this all week,” Burrell said. “Students were proud to make their posters and proud to march.”

One of the biggest lessons students are learning is how important it is to treat others with respect.

“They learned about stop racism and love all,” Burrell said.

In terms of the signs students created, Burrell said it had to be something “they believed in and could stand by, reflecting on all the things they learned this month.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Sa’Reya Pearson, 7, a first-grader at Butler Elementary School, is all smiles as she holds her sign during a peaceful march at the school on Friday.

Burrell considered the day a success.

“This is something I hope we continue to do every year,” she said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Bennit Black, 7, left, and Braxtyn Feddersen, 7, both first-graders at Butler Elementary School, get their sign ready for the peaceful march at the school on Friday.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Zakira Windham, 6, a first-grader at Butler Elementary School, holds up a sign that simply says “Love,” during a peaceful march at the school on Friday.

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