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Harborfields Community Comes Together to Celebrate Black History Month

Harborfields Community Comes Together to Celebrate Black History Month thumbnail242251

The Harborfields Central School District held its annual districtwide Black History Celebration on Feb. 2 at the high school auditorium, emceed by Oldfield Middle School Dean of Students Jeff Shade and eighth graders Chase Appolon and Skylar McDougal.

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. served as the keynote speaker, offering an overview of his inspiring life and career, and discussing his status as Long Island’s first black sheriff and first black person to be elected to a countywide position on Long Island.

“For me, as Errol Toulon Jr., it’s more important that people say, ‘He was the best sheriff that we ever had and someone who cared about our community, something that I strive for,'" Toulon said. "What can I do every single day to make you feel safer, to make your children, your grandchildren and grandparents feel like this is the type of community that we want to live in, where we want to raise our families, and that we want to be a happy community? I know it’s not a perfect society, but this is something I strive for.”

Students from each of the district’s schools gave exciting performances. Senior Nahrahel Louis gave an original speech titled “My Story,” eighth graders NeedJy Guerrier and Bianca Pierre recited the Sharon Brown-Rodgers poem “Black Is Beautiful,” seventh grader Valexia Desulme recited her own original poem “In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King,” seventh grader Katelynne Figueroa offered an original rap titled “Black History Heroes,” and Washington Drive students recited an excerpt from Amanda Gorman’s “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem.”

Musical highlights included eight grader Cathalina Aguilar’s opening performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” senior Kaitlyn Wille’s rendition of Rihanna’s “Stay,” eighth grader Ashley Deronvil’s violin performance of a piece by Joseph Bologne, sixth grader Abigail Kelley’s rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” and a combined chorus of TJL and Washington Drive students singing “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. A jazz combo of junior Peter Hoss on saxophone, senior Kam Johansen on trumpet and teachers Gregory Antonelli and Dan Bilawsky on bass and drums, respectively, paid stellar tribute to John Coltrane with a medley of “Equinox” and “Resolution.” Closing out the evening was a funky performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” by a group consisting of Antonelli, Bilawsky, fellow teachers Jennifer Klein on vocals and Mike Khan on guitar, and Hoss on keyboards.

Date Added: 2/14/2023