By Candace Birkelbach
Killeen Daily Herald
The Fairway Middle School gym floor shook Wednesday as multiple step teams showed off their moves in honor of Black History Month.
Step teams from Killeen, Ellison, Shoemaker and Harker Heights high schools performed, along with the Fairway Middle School band and choir.
Members of each step team had their own unique costumes and danced to upbeat music with voice-overs, expressing their feelings about black history.
The teams performed a cadence of claps and stomps that were in sync with each other.
Sixth-grade teacher Marilyn Lee said the Black History Month celebration is a yearly tradition at Fairway.
Lee said the event includes all children of all cultures.
"We want them to understand African-American culture and why we celebrate it," Lee said.
Band director Arthur Bryan said he helped plan the event to encourage students to gain appreciation for black culture.
"Let's face it, history books don't teach everything," Bryan said.
Bryan said a lot of African-Americans have made contributions for the betterment of society, and students need to learn about them.
Eighth-grade teacher Darlene Smith said her class is studying the civil rights movement. She said many students are unaware of the true sacrifices people made during that time period in order to gain freedom.
"Students enjoy the fruits of their labor," Smith said. "But they don't understand what people went through to get them."
Smith said she focused her class on what Americans had to go through in order to gain freedom, not just African-Americans.
"We want them to gain an appreciation for African-Americans, past and present," Lee said.
Rosa Hereford was scheduled to speak at the event, but time limits kept her from making a speech.
Hereford is a retired educator who worked in the Killeen Independent School District for 30 years. Hereford was one of the first African-Americans hired by Fairway in 1967.
Hereford also was the first woman and second African-American to serve on the Killeen City Council and remains involved with numerous community organizations.
Contact Candace Birkelbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7553