By Robert Martin 16 February 2018
Carlisle Barracks recognized finalists of its annual essay competition and honored Black History Month at a ceremony in Bliss Hall, Feb. 14. The audience in attendance included middle school students, parents, principals and USAWC students, faculty and staff.
“Black history month should serve as a reminder to celebrate this final aspect of our American heritage year round” said Lt. Col. Johnny Evans. “Today we celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognizes the central role we have played in the history of the United States,” he said.
Members of the Discussion panel were:
Brig. Gen. William Walker, acting Commanding General of the National Guard District of Columbia and resident students, Lt. Col.’s Landis and Yolanda Maddox, and Lt. Col. Andre Burks.
Brig. Gen. Walker began by thanking the middle school students for writing their essays, and noted how he read each essay.
Walker explained to the audience how, in 1917, Black Americans answered the call to protect our country, and how 1,005 African Americans of the First Separate Battalion, District of Columbia National Guard, were ordered to protect our nation’s capital.
Landis told the story of Col. Charles Young, and the early years of the armed forces. He told how Young fought during the Spanish American War with the Buffalo Soldiers, was the third African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy, and the 1st African-American National Park Superintendent.
Yolanda discusses African Americans currently serving, and who are making significant impacts through their service today. She mentioned Lt. Gen. Nadja West, who went from being an orphan to the highest-ranking African American woman in the history of the United States, and serves as the Army’s Surgeon General.
Burks then looked to the future of African Americans, directing his comments to the middle school students, saying, you have the opportunity to make something of yourself, graduated from High School, graduate from college and position yourself in society, so that those that came before you are proud.
The Army War College collaborated with seven area schools for this year's Black History Month recognition event. The War College invited middle school children in grades 6-8 to participate in the Black History Month essay contest.
“Writing about black history sparks interest, and maybe they will look into an area they may have never looked. It allows them to learn something new and unique,” said Wilson Principle Walter Bond.“It’s important not to let Black History be a onetime event, but try to embed it within everything they are learning about.
2018 Black History Month - Essay Contest Awardees, essays can be found at https://csl.armywarcollege.edu/bhm/BlackHistoryMonth.aspx
Big Spring Middle School
6th Grade: Peyton Weekly
7th Grade: Aliyah March and Paige Gibboney
Eagle View Middle School
7th Grade: Aapthi Kavuri
8th Grade: Kharece Ogunnaike
Good Hope Middle School
6th Grade: Hope Gabikiny
8th Grade: Mariyam Ahmed
8th Grade: Derek Works
Lamberton Middle School
6th Grade: Efraimara Fernandez
6th Grade: Keenan Williams
6th Grade: Lily Chhoeung
Mechanicsburg Middle School
6th Grade: Sophia Goss
7th Grade: Jackie Wyszynski
8th Grade: Bella Gilliard
Saint Patrick School
6th Grade: Morgan Coleman
7th Grade: Daniel Sandino-Salazar
8th Grade: Kaitlyn Baranko
Wilson Middle School
6th Grade: Jake Kiesow
7th Grade: Maya Reichenbach
8th Grade: Owen Andrews