Laurel High honors local Barrier Breakers

Laurel High School honored several Laurel history-makers during their annual Black History Month Program. Former Mayor Melvin Mack was recognized for being the first black mayor of the city of Laurel, and Coach Casey Price was recognized for being the first black student to receive a basketball scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi and for being the first black head basketball coach in Jones County. In addition to the awards of distinction, the Laurel High School Choir performed, “Glory,” and the JROTC Tornado Battalion presented the colors.

“The theme for the 2016 Black History Celebration is Barrier Breakers,” said LHS teacher and program coordinator Tamia Taylor. “It is very important that our students understand the importance of learning and passing down their history. We all stand on the shoulders of someone who made it possible for us to enjoy the opportunities we have today.” 

To promote the school’s program theme of “Barrier Breakers,” students portrayed many notable trailblazers including Jackie Robinson, Serena Williams, Casey Price, Ralph Boston, Dr. Ben Carson, Jessie L. Brown, Constance Motley Baker, Brigadier General George B. Price, Melvin Mack, First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama. The students dressed in character and presented historical facts about each person they represented.

LHS student Quinshay Page performed Etta James’ song “At Last,” Lawrence Collins performed Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” Kearra Keys presented Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman,” and Destinee Nicholson performed Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror.”

In addition to a living wax museum, student artwork display, presentations and musical performances, students Essence Kirk and Vincent Harris presented the five characteristics of a barrier breaker and those included, “stop making excuses, develop a strong mind, claim your strengths, provide triumph in achievement and define your character.”

To conclude the program, Heidelberg High School graduate and current Jones County Junior College student Brayton Gamble presented the speech, “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I am very proud of the outcome of the Black History Celebration,” Taylor said. “I truly hope our students learned to remember their past, celebrate the present, and build for our future.”

Former Laurel Mayor Melvin Mack and Coach Casey Price were honored during Laurel High School’s annual Black History Celebration as barrier breakers who have made a lasting impact on the Laurel community.

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