EAST AURORA — In celebration of Black History Month in February, Immaculate Conception School welcomed dancers and a drummer from the African-American Cultural Center to teach students about African dance.
As a STREAM school, Immaculate Conception places special emphasis on science, technology, religion, engineering, art and mathematics.
"We've incorporated innovative lessons and techniques in other areas of STREAM, and now we're bringing that innovation to exploring art," said Karen Adamski, principal. "We are preparing our students to succeed in high school and college, but we are also preparing them to succeed in their chosen careers and in life. This is an important part of that."
Dancers from the African-American Cultural Center taught students a song of welcome in song and dance. When they invited the students to participate, the students did so enthusiastically.
"The participation element of this was wonderful for our students; in addition to listening, they had the chance to experience this art," Adamski said.
Students have gained other experience with the performing arts, as well. They've enjoyed concerts with visiting musicians, and they've explored drama and poetry in their classrooms. At recess, they have special opportunities to explore dance when they learn new steps and try them out. This month, they'll explore Irish dance, when dancers from a local Irish dancing school will perform jigs, reels and set dances in celebration of the feast of St. Patrick.
In addition, the school is introducing students to a wide variety of materials in art class, including focusing on cross-curricular projects. For example, when the seventh-grade class studied mezuzahs, the students learned about the religious significance of these objects and used that knowledge to create their own mezuzahs to take home.
"At Immaculate Conception, we work every day to create a community of lifelong learners," Adamski said. "By piquing their curiosity and broadening their worldview, we are opening their eyes to new ways to learn, explore and grow spiritually, academically and socially."