LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Students at Nevada Rise Academy are showcasing their talents through song, dance and dramatic pieces to celebrate Black History in a beautiful performance.
Two hundred and twenty-five students graced the stage to honor the African American experience. It spanned genres and centuries, from the spirituals to Aretha Franklin to the birth of hip-hop. There were performances of “Planet Rock” from Afrika Bambaataa and “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & Furious 5.
The students thrived on stage!
Second grader Zahcion McPherson said, “What I really loved doing out there was performing our show in front of the whole crowd.”
Isabella Vivaf, who is in kindergarten, said performing made her feel “proud and free!”
Ample work on this production began in August, just as the school year started.
Their visual and performing arts teacher, Lesleigh Valette, challenged her students to reach new heights, including a number called “Wade in the Water” from legendary dancer Alvin Ailey.
“‘Wade in the Water,’ we started with a bang! That’s a big thing to ask 2nd graders to do, and they did it!” said Valette.
Social consciousness and historical relevance were woven throughout the show, including performances of “What’s Goin’ On” from Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr’s “War.”
History was also brought to life with the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspiring students nearly 60 years after his most famous speech.
“Alvin Ailey and Martin, they did their best,” said Vivaf, “and there are other African Americans that did the same thing for us. So, I want to say thank you.”
The performance wrapped with thrilled students, excited, yet exhausted educators and proud parents.
“Pride, they get to see their kids shine bright on a stage!” commented school principal Justin Brecht.
Valette added, “To ask K through second graders to perform what they just did is amazing. So, I’m very proud of them!”