Bennett’s Mill hosts celebration


Students at Bennett’s Mill Middle participated in the school’s first annual Black History Month celebration that included musical performances, readings of original essays and poetry, and step dancing. Fayetteville Mayor Edward Johnson was the keynote speaker.

Performances from the Bennett’s Mill Middle orchestra and chorus were intermingled with student readings by Logan Shanks, the winner of this year’s Fayette County NAACP Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Competition, and Lindsey George, whose poem is a contender in the Atlanta Falcons Black History Month Contest and is based on the prompt, “If Martin Luther King, Jr. were still alive today, he would think…”

The school’s Dynasty Step Team gave a high-energy performance of an airplane flight, taking the audience from takeoff, through air turbulence, and a safe landing. The dancers used their bodies as an instrument to produce rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and handclaps.

Keynote speaker Johnson, the first black mayor of Fayetteville, told students that they must study the past so not to repeat it in the future. He also shared his personal story of growing up in the projects in New Orleans, and how his mother gave him and his siblings the encouragement to be successful at whatever they set their minds to do. He listened to his mother, made good grades in school, went to college, and became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. He told students that they could also achieve their dreams by believing in themselves, listening to their parents, studying hard, and making right decisions.

Following Johnson’s address, he was honored with a framed piece of artwork designed specifically for him by student Darlin Nguyen. It features a profile of Johnson on one side, the school’s logo on the other, and in the center, the old courthouse in Fayetteville. Johnson announced that he would hang the artwork in his office at City Hall.

Pictured with Nguyen and Johnson is Bennett’s Mill Middle Principal Dr. Marcus Broadhead.