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During Black History Month, students reflect on their modern-day heroes


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Judy Woodruff: Black History Month expands students' understanding of the Black experience in America.

At the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, teacher Angela Whorton wanted her students to see that Black history isn't something that only happened in the past. It happens every single day through each of them.

She worked with our Student Reporting Labs program to record these reflections.

Here they are in their own words.

Angela Whorton: We challenged our sixth graders to find someone in Black history that they admire, not just someone from their textbooks, but modern-day heroes and family members who help inspire them to find their own inner greatness.

Ariana Miller: My name is Ariana Miller, I am in sixth grade and I love cheerleading.

I look up to Simone Biles because she is not afraid to try new tricks. As a gymnast, Simone went through racism. All through that, Simone stayed positive. And if I was in her place, I would, too.

I feel like I'm just like Simone, because we don't care what people think about us. Earlier this school year, I had a cheerleading competition, and we got second place. I felt really happy, because it's a brand-new gym with new people, and I did really good.

J'Adore Smith: Hi, everyone. My name is J'Adore Smith, and this is my big sister, Daetaesha (ph).

She has her own hair salon, where she helps people feel beautiful and happy by doing their hair. I don't own my salon yet, but I do use my creativity by doing other people's nails and making them feel beautiful and happy, too.

I love how I can inspire other Black women by making them feel beautiful. My sister reached her dreams by being a hair salon person. And I feel like I could do the same, too.

Braelyn Starks: My name is Braelyn Starks. And this is my pop-pop, Lester Lewis (ph).

I am inspired by my pop-pop, because we both have the same passion, building and creating things from our imagination. When he started as an apprentice for Goodyear Tires in 1972, he was in the first group of Black men accepted to their apprenticeship program.

He never gave up. And now I can follow my dream, becoming an engineer, because he broke down those barriers. My grandma says that sometimes the things you love to do can determine the road you will travel in life. My pop-pop did that, even though people said it wasn't allowed. And that makes me want to follow in his footsteps.

My name is Braelyn Starks.

Ariana Miller: I'm Ariana Miller.

J'Adore Smith: My name is J'Adore Smith. And I am Black history.

Ariana Miller: And I am Black history.

Braelyn Starks: And I am Black history.

Judy Woodruff: And we could listen to each one of you all day long.

Thank you so much for sharing.

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