Tinker K-8 School commemorates Black History Month at MacDill

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lauren Cobin

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Tinker K-8 School students gathered for an assembly in celebration of Black History Month here, Feb. 22, 2024.

The event emphasized the contributions of African Americans throughout U.S. history, but also served as a platform for fostering a sense of community and understanding among the diverse student body of Tinker K-8 School.

In attendance were students, parents, teachers and military personnel from the MacDill AFB community, all of whom expressed gratitude for the inclusive and educational event.

The assembly included informative speeches by service members and student-led presentations. Tinker’s jazz and chorus group showcased their talents with a range of musical and dance performances that reflected the rich culture of Black communities.

"It is important to honor everyone that has done something for our country and has made a difference to get to where we are today," said Saylor Mullins, a 5th grade student and chorus member. "Performing today shows people, especially the younger kids, to do what you love and love what you do, and to not let anyone else change their minds.”

Kenton Tallant, an 8th grade student and jazz band member, added his gratitude for the opportunity to perform.

"This is important to me because I get to experience different cultures through music," he said. “I am thankful to get to experience events like this at the base.”

Two African American members of the 6th Air Refueling Wing collaborated in a musical performance for the students. Laron Washington, 6th Air Refueling Wing equal opportunity director, played piano and sang, while Senior Airman Quban Hall, 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron air terminal representative, played saxophone. This display highlighted the spirit of unity and camaraderie that Black History Month seeks to promote.

Col. Edward Szczepanik, 6th ARW deputy commander, encouraged students to recognize the contributions of African Americans throughout history and embrace valuable lessons from the past.

As the observance of Black History Month continues, events like these provide invaluable opportunities for communities to engage in meaningful conversations, promote understanding and celebrate the achievements of African Americans who have positively impacted the nation and armed forces.