Fifth- and sixth-grade student ambassadors stood alongside their class exhibits Feb. 28 eager to share their knowledge of influential Black Americans both past and present with the more than 670 people who came to see Aldo Leopold Intermediate School’s Black History Museum.

This was the third year Aldo has hosted the community event, but it was the first year that student ambassadors accompanied their class exhibits.

“People, sometimes they don’t like to just look at something and spend their time, because some people don’t have a large attention span,” sixth-grader Ray’Meair Fredricks said. “So some people just like people to explain things to them because if you’re reading them, you might misunderstand some things, and it’s better to have somebody talking to a person and having human interaction.”

Ray’Meair was manning an exhibit on Amanda Gorman, a famous poet and writer who read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“I really like the research and how much we found about these people and how they impact other people’s lives,” Ray’Meair said. “Our class was doing the latest Black influencers and people who made an influence on the Black community, and she was one of our options, so we picked her and it was really fun, and me and my classmate, Emily, we really really liked it.”

Classmate and fellow ambassador Emily Weiss was stationed alongside the neighboring exhibit about writer, director and producer Gabrielle Gorman, the twin sister of Amanda Gorman.

“She made a documentary on Amazon, and it’s growing very popular,” Emily said.

Ray’Meair was glad to see so many people attend the event, and he was happy to share what he knew not just about Amanda Gorman, but other influential Black Americans as well, such as Zendaya, whose exhibit was set up nearby.

“(Having community members at the museum) makes us feel like our class put in an effort for a good result to see and educate people on things like this,” Ray’Meair said. “It just feels cheerful. The atmosphere is good and it feels like we’re enjoying ourselves.”

Sixth-graders Jaziah Carter and Jamiyah Davenport told visitors all about President Barack Obama. They highlighted his efforts to make healthcare more accessible and how he inspired hope.

Jaziah had prior knowledge about President Obama before starting the project, but had the opportunity to learn of other influential Black Americans from other exhibits.

“My favorite thing about the museum is we get to explore things about people we’ve never heard about,” Jaziah said.

One such person for Jaziah was Madam C.J. Walker.

“She made hair products for Black African American people, because they didn’t have any,” Jaziah said.

There were exhibits on scientists, mathematicians, writers, soldiers, spies, politicians, and athletes.

“Flo Jo (Florence Joyner) set two world records that are still held today,” sixth-grader Ella Mason said. “They were on the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. She was most famous for her running abilities and her style. She loved having long nails to support her team, Team USA, and she also sometimes designed different uniforms and stuff like that.”

Not far from the Flo Jo exhibit was one featuring Roberto Clemente. Sixth-grader JiaireBowens pointed to a model airplane that was included in the exhibit as he explained that the famous baseball player died in a plane crash while en route to deliver supplies to Nicaragua following an earthquake.

He was a famous baseball player and he was a good person,” Jiaire said. “He helped people not give up.”

Fifth-grader Kyli Curry put on somewhat of a double presentation. She and her social studies teacher, Jennifer Dixon, had recorded Kyli dressed and speaking as Revolutionary War hero Salem Poor. The video played on a loop as part of the exhibit, but Kyli was still on hand to talk to visitors and answer questions.

“I like (the Black History Museum) because these people are important, and I feel like we need to learn more about what they did in their lives before they passed,” Kyli said.

Museum-goers floated back and forth between the auditorium, where the student exhibits were on display, and the gymnasium, where local musicians put on live performances (another new feature of the museum this year), and where Burlington Community School District students and staff took on roles of living exhibits.

“This year we really tried to focus on the school system,” social services specialist Cree Gully said as she motioned to the live exhibitors.

Among them was Burlington High School junior Kamryn Reynolds, who was asked to participate as a living exhibit for his volunteerism in track, soccer and football camps.

“I think it’s great that (the museum) happens,” Kamryn said. “I think it spreads more awareness about the things historical figures have done for us to create America, and it’s also a fun community thing. Everybody can just come here and learn.”

Museum Committee Members

  • Bella Chiprez
  • Vida Long
  • Sam Mears
  • Melissa Nelson-Chiprez
  • Kahri Plein
  • Antonio Redd
  • Sara Watkins
  • Cree Webb

Live Exhibitors
  • D’Maro Austin

  • Ashley Goodwin
  • Diane Holland
  • Mary Mitchell
  • Josh Osborn
  • Samara Parkin
  • Jordan Webb
  • Amari Bailey
  • Kylee Hill
  • Giovanna Orr
  • Kamryn Reynolds


  • Saniyaa Morgan
  • Linda Robinson
  • LaTisha McCampbell
  • DJ Ant Bomb (Tony Campbell)
  • DJ Big A (Aaron Thomas)

Student Ambassadors

  • Annabelle Allen
  • Jiaire Bowens
  • Kierstan Canterbury
  • Cadence Castro
  • Jaziah Carter
  • Brittney Cavinder
  • Norah Clemen
  • Kyli Curry
  • Jamiya Davenport
  • Peyton Decoursey
  • Eva DeJong
  • Jamyia Doby
  • Payton Flinn
  • Ray’Meair Fredricks
  • Parker Fritz
  • Kaitlynn Gibbs
  • Aleah Hill
  • Marlee Hill
  • Mary Hoisington
  • Eli Lewis
  • Leighanna Lewis
  • Mia Lowe
  • La’Nya Manning
  • Emorej Martin
  • Ella Mason
  • Elhaym Mueller
  • Eli Myers
  • Janiyah Myers
  • Kaia Oddo
  • Luna Perez-Hall
  • Elise Pettit
  • Lucas Peterson
  • Aila Plein
  • Akile Ramsey
  • Cody Simmons
  • Ruth Smith
  • Suvi Smith
  • Danika Steele
  • Adley Stevenson
  • Laila Taeger
  • Emma Weinrich
  • Emily Weiss
  • JJ West
  • Steven Westfall
  • Liam Wiseman
  • Carmela Wood
Mask group

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