Black History must go on


(From left to right) Hadja Sakho (11), Jonathan Henry (12) Kaia Calhoun (12) practice their dance routine for Black History Month’s performance. “Timeless” will be performed February 17 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

Brittany Abston (Senior), Photography Editor

   Due to the pandemic, a number of schools across the nation put a pause on extracurriculars for the safety of their community. Although many institutions put an end to extracurriculars completely, in February 2020, Westerville North High School’s Black History Month (BHM) program rose to the challenge and found a new, unique way to put on their annual BHM show. 

  Before the pandemic, in late 2019, North high school’s BHM program was expected to perform the following February. However, COVID struck and the program had no choice but to come up with a safer performance option.

  Co-Director of the annual BHM show, Nadia Jamison (12), has been involved in the BHM program since her sophomore year, and joined the program as a co-director. Jamison explained that her role is to lead her peers, and be their role-model in the program. Jamison is also in charge of co-writing the script for the annual BHM show, creating the program schedule, organizing events, and more. 

  Jamison expressed that when COVID hit in 2020, the BHM program had no choice but to meet online. Due to the BHM program being very hands on and social, Jamison revealed it was tremendously difficult to continue working on the performance. 

   “We were online meeting all the time, I remember meetings lasting from three to four hours. This program is very ‘in-person’ so it was hard to meet online,” Jamison said.

  While the BHM program was meeting online, Jamison and her fellow student co-director Maya Chaffin (12), created a new way to perform for the 2021 annual BHM show. Jamison and Chaffin decided they would premiere the annual BHM show completely online—it would be titled “RE:CAP.” The show was created to mimic a live televised news program that took place in 2020. In this particular program, the news anchors discussed the most popular political events of each month. The show addressed both racial and social issues from the year 2020 through song, creative dance, and more. 

 “We constructed the show to include dances, songs, and acting. Once we felt like we perfected it, we filmed it like a movie,” Jamison said. 

  The online show premiered on the official BHM program Youtube channel from Feb. 25 to 26 in 2020. The show quickly became a success and brought a large number of new students interested in participating in the BHM show at North.

  This is Mariah Chaffin’s (9)  first time being involved in the BHM program, she is no stranger to the cause. Chaffin is related to student co-director Maya Chaffin. 

   “I got into BHM because of my sister who is the student director. However, I still would have  joined because of how motivated this program is in educating the students at North High School on black history,” Chaffin said. 

   Despite the fact Chaffin joined the BHM program this year, she has already noticed the positive impact the program has had on her. 

   “I have met new friends, learned new things, and gained good experience with performances,” Chaffin said. 

 Because this year will be the BHM program’s first in-person show since 2020, Jamison feels as though she is expected to put on an even better show than RE:CAP, and the pressure is on.

“We had a good show last year and we want to make this year’s show as good or even better than that show. Not only that but we also have to follow new COVID guidelines,” Jamison said. 

Important Westerville North High School Black History Month Dates.

   With this year being Jamison’s last year co-directing the annual BHM show, she is optimistic about the future of the program. This year alone, the BHM program doubled in participants. Jamison is confident the program will continue to grow and try new things. What Jamison is most proud of this year is the amount of new participants the program has gained since the 2021 show. 

   “I’m most proud of the amount of students we have gotten to participate in the last year. My sophomore year, the program had a good amount of participants but a lot of them left at the same time because they were seniors. Last year, we didn’t have that many participants due to the pandemic. This year however, at our first meeting the room was packed with new talent,” Jamison said. 

   Despite the ups and downs Westerville North High School’s annual BHM program has faced in the midst of planning this year’s show, it is set to debut live on stage on Feb. 17, 2022 at 7pm at North High School in the auditorium. 

   “The BHM program means perseverance to me. Despite all of the obstacles we have faced this year and previous years, we were still able to succeed,” Chaffin said.