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Long Beach Schools Celebrate Black History Month

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The Long Beach Public Schools have been honoring Black History Month in numerous ways these past few weeks. The district kicked off its events early this year, beginning with lessons focused on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January. More activities followed and many are still underway.

Throughout the buildings, students learned about Dr. King’s legacy and discussed his famous speech. The schools paid homage to his leadership and impact by showcasing pictures and quotes.

Long Beach High School’s African American Club developed a 2021 Black History Virtual Festival that provided opportunities to celebrate Black History Month throughout February. This year’s theme is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” and the club shared a set of educational resources. They invited peers to take part in a virtual exhibition at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, watch a Black History Makers video, join book discussions and poetry readings, witness the art of step dancing with Dance Afrika, code a Langston Hughes Poem and much more. They also spotlighted the Long Beach Public Library’s “Movin’ to Motown” exercise class and National African American Read-In with Professor Anissa Moore. Many of the other activities noted were sponsored by libraries in surrounding communities as well as media outlets.

High school students also created a collage of Historically Black Colleges that is displayed outside the counseling center and posted inspirational messages and images in the library and commons area. The Book Club, in collaboration with Director of Literacy Dr. Lorraine Radice, sponsored a virtual visit with “Dear Martin” author Nic Stone. Long Beach Middle School students participated in a Google Meet session with Janae Marks, author of “A Soft Place to Land” and “From the Desk of Zoe Washington.”

Other Middle School highlights include bulletin boards filled with information on Black authors, historical figures, artists, entertainers, innovators and athletes. Students are working on research projects that collectively form a “Periodic Table of Black History.” This week, they will view a PTA-sponsored assembly presented by Squeaky Clean that focuses on the Civil Rights Movement.

P.S. I Love You Day

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Several Long Beach schools celebrated P.S. I Love You Day as a way to encourage kindness and caring. An assortment of activities and projects focused on thoughtfulness toward others and helped to connect students and staff members. Many participants wore purple in support of the program’s mission.

At Long Beach High School, the Student Organization coordinated P.S. I Love You Day efforts on Feb. 11 and 12. Members arrived early in the morning and decorated the building, placed notes on every desk and filled the commons area with displays of positive affirmations. Additionally, carnations were available for students to purchase for others.

The Middle School organized numerous initiatives over the two days as well. A welcoming committee provided positive statements, purple ribbons and uplifting messages to those entering the building. Students wrote kind notes that were affixed to lockers and doors and also composed letters to special people in their lives. Additionally, they shared characteristics that define good friends and combined their responses to create a “caring quilt” displayed in the hallway.

Lido and the Pre-K Center observed Kindness Week, which culminated with P.S. I Love You Day. Students decorated kindness rocks in a project sponsored by the Pre-K and Lido PTAs and completed “I Love My Selfie” posters. Students and staff members also shared hearts with words of encouragement. The other buildings hold lessons and activities throughout the year that take different forms, but encompass the same underlying messages of love, compassion and positive mindsets.

LBMS Student Awarded for Fashion Art

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Long Beach Middle School eighth grader Sienna Hornberger has won a Gold Key award in the 2021 Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards program. She earned this distinction in the fashion category for her entry, “Fallen Petals;” a hand-painted chiffon dress with a satin and toile bodice.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. According to the organization, students across the nation submitted nearly 320,000 works of art and writing in 2020. Submissions are judged based on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.