History lesson from Tupelo students

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Midway through Tupelo High School’s annual Black History Program on Monday, a group of male students stomped and clapped as they walked across the half-court line toward the middle of the school’s gymnasium.
The students are members of THS Steppers, a new step team at the school that was created as part of Jeffrey McIntosh’s senior project. The school’s Black History Program always features student performances, but this was the first step team in recent memory.
Sophomore stepper Trey Bradley said the group has been practicing since late January. It was a “great honor,” he said, to be a part of Monday’s program.
Wearing black shirts, black ties and black pants, the steppers used their bodies to create a rhythmic dance, stamping and tapping their feet, clapping and patting their knees.
“They are very exciting,” said junior Zoe Kelly, a member of THS Voices, the school’s Black History Program choir, which also performed Monday.
Trey was among several THS Steppers who also sang with THS Voices, which has practiced for weeks for this performance. Also featuring a drummer, piano player, saxophone and bass guitar, the group sang “Back To Eden,” “Born to Win” and “He’s the Greatest.”
“The students are the ones who perform and put on the program each year, and we have a diverse group of students who participate,” said THS assistant principal Evet Topp, who also serves on a committee of faculty and staff that begins meeting in the fall to plan the annual event.
Performing at the Black History Program is special for students like senior THS Voices member Miranda West.
“It is something big for us, especially for the seniors,” West said.
Guest speaker Angela McGlowan told students about the importance of an education. Students Lizzie Brevard, Lillie Washington, Odie Johnson III and Chauncey Jernigan also made remarks.
“It is wonderful anytime we can have something student-centered and focus on our common history,” Tupelo Public School District Superintendent Randy Shaver said.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.