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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

P.K. Yonge’s Black Student Union hosts annual event for Black History Month

Students come together to share stories

<p>The P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. </p>

The P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

As the chief of staff of P.K. Yonge’s Black Student Union, 16-year-old Caleb Little has seen firsthand just how impactful the club’s annual Black History Month event has been for his peers and the P.K. Yonge community as a whole.

His participation in the club was limited during his first two years due to the pandemic, but he knew he wanted to become more involved with the organization and the community. He now serves as the union’s chief of staff. 

The annual Black History Month event hosted by the P.K. Yonge BSU will be hosted at the school’s Performing Arts Center Feb. 27. The theme will be BSU Awards: A Celebration of Black History, Black Culture, and Black Excellence. 

Inspired by the BET Awards, the event is an opportunity to recognize Black excellence throughout history and within the community.   

The event fills a gap in the community to share the real Black experience, Little said. 

“What is usually produced about us when they hear about Black people, they think about music artists and rappers,” Little said. “But there’s another side to Black excellence. We are doctors, we are lawyers.”

Honorees are being honored in five categories: music, entertainment, sports, academics and politics. Additionally, the event will also include showcases from clubs throughout P.K. Yonge, such as the elementary choirs, skits and musical tributes to artists.

Adam Maxwell, a 23-year-old recent Santa Fe College graduate, graduated from P.K. Yonge in 2017, and now serves as an adviser for the Black Student Union. During his time as a student, he served as student body president. 

As a P.K. Yonge lifer — meaning he attended the school from kindergarten through his senior year — Maxwell grew up attending the yearly events, which are a tradition of many decades. When he received the call from P.K. Yonge’s principal, Carrie Geiger, to coordinate the show, he said it was a no-brainer. 

“It's truly an honor, and I take it as an opportunity not to serve as an adviser, but to serve my students,” Maxwell said. “I take it very seriously and it feels amazing just to be able to help them reach a certain level of excellence.”

Excellence is the motto Maxwell tries to impart on his students by teaching them how to run meetings, plan events and push them to higher levels, he said. 

“[We’re] helping them take the show and the club at large to the next level because we're more than just an annual show,” Maxwell said. 

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Gracey Davis

Gracey Davis is a UF journalism junior and Avenue staff writer. Gracey is a self-described girl boss, secretary for FMSA and a passionate Philly sports fan. If you're looking for her, try the Marston basement, where she often pretends she's a STEM major. 

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