Kirkwood black history program puts history in motion

KIRKWOOD, Mo. - A special program at Tillman Elementary put black history in motion Friday. It brought together students from Kirkwood and their fellow students who transferred in from Riverview Gardens.

With every step, clap, and jump, the Gentlemen of Vision step team captivated their young audience at Tillman Elementary. And they put a beat to history.

"It was inspirational to see the step team Gentlemen of Vision. I just want to be like them some day," says Tillman fifth grader Carli Brooks.

Brooks is a member of Tillman's brand new step team, the Pepper Steppers. Most of the Gentlemen of Vision are from Riverview Gardens High.

"A lot of our students left our district and came to this school," says GOV captain Tyale McNary. "And it was just great to see those kids and some of the ex staff members that were there and show Riverview in a positive light."

"When I came into the program I was actually like yeah this is where I want to be. It's a brotherhood. I get to create steps. I get to make steps," adds Michael Burroughs.

"We are pushing these young men to achieve in the classroom and outside of the classroom. So the stepping component of it is a hook," GOV founder Marlon Wharton tells us.

And they hooked Tillman's young steppers with their moves. After the program, they gave them a few tips, and an encore.

"I think it meant more than we can probably ever imagine or understand," says program organizer Jessica Hawkins.

Hawkins says it was powerful to see this interactive history lesson come together.

"As we thought about making sure this was very purposeful and teaching our students about perseverance and working together and tying in the African American culture, it was important that we connected the voice of our students from Riverview Gardens.

Twenty-five students transferred from Riverview Gardens to Tillman Elementary this year.

Learn more about Gentlemen of Vision here.


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