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Bringing legends to life: Wellcome hosts real-life wax museum

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Wellcome middle school step team performs on Feb. 15, 2017. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)


Sharieka Botex
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, February 16, 2017

When someone dropped money into a container next to Izeaah Redmond, he was poised and ready to share facts about someone who has inspired him.

Redmond, a sixth-grader, and fellow students at Wellcome Middle School created a real-life wax museum as part of a Black History Month celebration. Standing under Muhammad Ali’s name, Redmond had athletic tape around his fists and recited what he learned about the legendary boxer and activist.

Prior to the project, Redmond said he only knew Ali for boxing, but came to admire him for other things.

“He stood up to the government by not accepting an offer to fight in the war just because he wanted to do what he wanted to do, and that took a lot of courage,” Redmond said.

Other tributes included Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and Samuel Massie. Families and community members packed the school hallways to explore the students’ projects. 

Christian Sanchez selected civil rights activist David Walker to highlight for Black History Month. As interested visitors stopped by, Sanchez proudly shared the facts that he had learned. 

“It made me feel great because my family got to come out and see me perform the project,” he said.

Wednesday’s program also featured a step show and dance performance by Wellcome’s step team.  

Jennifer Krajna, a sixth-grade teacher and event organizer, said the purpose of the event was to help bridge the community with the school, teach and inspire. Krajna said funds collected during the program would help fund a field trip.

“You know that it takes a village, and without all of you we wouldn’t be as successful as we are,” Krajna said.

After the step team concluded its performance, members returned to the floor for a dance performance with Krajna. 

Talijah Barrett, an eighth-grader and member of the step team, said the event was important because blacks should be recognized for what they have contributed.

Students from the Belvoir Elementary School Reading Club shared a presentation on “The ABCs of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.” The presentation highlighted tools and resources used to help blacks escape slavery and fight for freedom.

Wendy Hazelton, the first black district court judge in Pitt County, shared words of encouragement and told attendees that they could be anything they wanted to be.

“You can go as far as you want to go,” she said. “You can be whoever you want to be. I’m a product of that. I am the 13th of 15 children. I am from a small town in Windsor, North Carolina. Who would’ve thought number 13 of 15 would have been able to be a district court judge?” 

Hazelton encouraged the audience members to pursue their dreams and passion.

“If you have someone in your life that can help you get there, use that resource,” she said. “Never be afraid to ask for help, because we all need one another and it’s a cycle that we need to go through to get to where we need to get to. I encourage each of you tonight to write your story. Make it a proud story and follow your dreams and always remember that the sky is not the limit. You determine what your destiny will be.” 

Contact Sharieka Botex at 252-329-9567 and sbotex@reflector.com. Follow her on Twitter @ShariekaB.