Springfield students highlight

famous African Americans through word and song

in recognition of Black History Month

As part of Council's recognition of Black History Month, powerful student presentations on famous Pennsylvania musicians and artists held the attention of those in attendance at the Feb. 7 County Council weekly meeting. Every February, County Council recognizes the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history in addition to the accomplishments of those living in our county.

Black History Month was started in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, the descendent of slaves who became a noted author, educator and a dean at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

For the meeting, Delaware County Court of Common Judge Nichols and his wife, Cheryl Nichols, a retired teacher who taught in the Wallingford Swarthmore School District for 32 years, invited students to make a special Black History Month presentation and receive a tour of the Delaware County Courthouse. As scholars of African American history, Judge Nichols and Cheryl strive to bring history to life for a new generation of young people so they can carry on the work of their ancestors.

For the presentation, Springfield High School seniors Camryn Council, Arathi Pillai, Nia Stevenson, and Sarah Dahleh who is a junior, presented the history of famous African Americans from the Philadelphia region, including Ed Bradley, Octavius Catto, Jill Scott, Gamble and Huff, and Ethel Waters who is from Chester, Delaware County. Additionally, the students recited a poem and performed a powerful a capella rendition of Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew."

"Today, as a collective group, we draw on the strength and diversity of our great county, as exemplified by the talents of these young women with us today," said Chairman John P. McBlain. "We are proud to continue to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of great African American leaders. It's by learning about the struggles our ancestors faced, as they broke down barriers for us, that future generations can continue to work for equality and fairness for all people," said McBlain.

At the meeting, Council also welcomed Fonda Akins, an award-winning learning support teacher who has taught in the Springfield School District for 23 years. In addition to teaching, Akins is the co-sponsor of a multi-cultural group called REACH, which stands for Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage. She is also advisor of The DuBois Honor Society.

Each student was presented a resolution in recognition of their efforts to highlight the achievements of African Americans and designate the central role that they took in shaping U.S. history.

Bringing Black History to Life

Delaware County Council recognized February as Black History Month with a presentation and performance by students from Springfield High School who provided presentations on famous African Americans from Delaware County and the Philadelphia region. Shown at the meeting are, from right, students Arathi Pillai, Nia Stevenson, educators Cheryl Nichols, Ari Nugent and Fonda Akins, Chairman John P. McBlain, students Camryn Council and Sarah Dahleh, and back row, from right, Councilmen Kevin M. Madden, Brian P. Zidek, Michael F. Culp, Vice Chair Colleen Morrone, Sheriff Jerry L. Sanders, Jr. and Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nathaniel C. Nichols.