Lange Middle School's Minority Achievement Committee (MAC) Scholars held a tribute to Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
The MAC Scholars spoke about the hardships and victories Nelson and Winnie Mandela for their annual Black History Month celebration. The students narrated the Mandelas' lives from Nelson and Winnie's points of view, often using direct quotes to better illustrate the former South African leaders' voices.
The students were in charge of researching and writing their own part of the program. Lange's MAC Scholars began planning the celebration to honor Mandela after his death last December.
The 18 students at Lange are one of nine MAC Scholars programs in the Columbia Public School District. MAC Scholars is a national program that promotes academic achievement and community involvement for students from minority backgrounds.
Columbia's MAC Scholars provided many different kinds of support for middle school and high school students. Students receive help with homework, college and career counseling and the opportunity to connect with other minority students in their school.
"We are basically people who are left out or thought of not to be the right person," said Chris Carter, an 8th grade MAC Scholar from Lange Middle School. "But if you come in this group, it shows you that you can overcome all of those situations and be an outstanding person in the community."
The MAC Scholars program at Lange encourages minority students to look to positive role models as they work to better their future. Whether these role models are from the community or another continent, the inspiration to excel academically of professionally is important.
"We wanted to highlight Nelson Mandela because of his endurance and perseverance as a strong individual," said Dr. Bernard Solomon, principal of Lange Middle School. "We want our young people to understand that they can have a positive impact on society just like Nelson Mandela did."
In addition to their presentations on Mandela's life, the Lange MAC Scholars sang several gospel-inspired songs during the evening's event. During their final song, the audience stood, clapping and singing with the students.