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Hip Hop and the Art of Being an Emcee Through Reverence for Dr. Carter G. Woodson

A Letter from Our Head of School

Dear WSP Families and Friends, In celebration of Black History Month, on Friday, February 18, students from four classes gathered in the auditorium for a very special workshop entitled “Hip Hop and the Art of Being an Emcee Through Reverence for Dr. Carter G. Woodson”. This effort was led by WSP parent and WSP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee Member, Sister IAsia Thomas, who worked with our seventh grade teacher, Ms. Illar, to bring teaching artist, Born Shamir, to our school for the first time. Sister IAsia and Brother Born brought warm encouragement, humor, new skills, and artistry to our students, several of whom bravely shared their work in this month’s newsletter. Students learned about ASALH, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the Father of Black History, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. As students learned about the foundations of the art of Hip Hop, they explored the differences between slant rhymes and straight rhymes, about bars and syllables, and participated in a song hook which is a chorus that can be repeated between lines or phrases. Students took turns reading their lines and the rest of the audience joined in with the hook, “I will, I can, I did, I am.” Students then had the chance to improvise which took such courage. Our time together closed with the opportunity for students to relax, write, and read their poetry aloud. As Brother Born shared with me at the end of the day:

Keep rhyming! Keep Shining! Educe the emcee in you Through writing! What a gift to have had this experience! As you read the students’ work, I think you’ll feel the empathy and togetherness that was shared on this day. We honor Black History Month in order to highlight the achievements of Black people who historically have not always been included in American History and ought to be. Students at WSP celebrate Black History all year long, but this experience was extra special. With sincere gratitude to Brother Born and Sister IAsia for sharing their gifts with us, Kirsten Christopherson-Clark Head of School


Carter G

He was the first to leave

Harvard University

with a PhD

Faced with adversity


and no diversity

He still believed

He could create history

How he did it, well that’s a mystery.

by: Tommy


Black Lives Matter

They are true

The beautiful brown skin

They have been through a lot

But they still are good.

by: Cecilia


The feeling is soft

It is calm

It is relaxing

It is piano music

It makes me calm.

by: Elijah


We need to see that we are family

That’s what we need to see.

You need to know that you are not alone.

It doesn’t matter where you are from or where's your home.

by: Anebana


After this time

Hearing this rhyme

During this time

I feel inspired by the words and memories

The way people fought for their rights

The hardships they suffered

The battles they fought

Won and lost

The tears and the loss.

by: Liam


A river flows through the mountains

Coursing, running, picking up the pace.

At the bottom is a dam

Slowly collecting water,

but even a dam breaks.

The pressure is too much,

and it breaks.

The rush of water,

of thoughts, of


Breaking through

the confinements

of the wall.

Forever changing

the landscape below.

by: Riley


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