Recognizing a Heritage: Waterloo event held in honor of Black History Month

By Diamond Lee 2007

Select students from Cedar Falls High and NU High took a field trip to the YWCA to commemorate Black History Month with a motivational program on Friday, Feb. 23. Young Blacks on the Move is a motivational program that selects African Americans from different kinds of fields of work to come and talk about their accomplishments.

The panel of speakers discussed how they got into their profession and some of the struggles and obstacles they had to overcome. YWCA Special Services Director Essie Buls has been overseeing this activity for 22 years.

“This is an opportunity for young people to hear from African Americans who have overcome obstacles to become professionals,” Buls said.

Social Studies teacher Robert Schmidt has been taking students to the YWCA for this activity for almost 15 years.

“It’s just a great experience. The students are able to interact with the speakers and ask questions about their profession,” Schmidt said.

Of the nine speakers, two were David W. Goodson and Evie Charles Pugh.

Goodson is a man with many titles. He works for the Family and Children’s Council, teaches at Hawkeye Community College and is Founder of Social Action Inc., in addition to sharing motivational words with students that truly leave them thinking about their futures.

“I am a firm believer that a man or woman without a planner is a man or woman without a plan,” Goodson said. He also emphasized that fun comes after work. Students must have their priorities in order, and in order to get what they want out of life, they have to work for it.

“There are two kinds of people in this world: people who wait for things to happen and people who make things happen. It’s how bad you want it and what you are willing to do to get it,” Goodson said.

Pugh, the Technical Director for the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa, denotes his former part time job as motivation to attend college.

“I took my first class Introduction to Psychology and got a B+. I was so motivated from that that I told myself I can do this,” Pugh said. He was able to earn a BA in education and then a Masters degree in Educational Technology. Now he works at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center and has been able to meet celebrities.

“I’ve meet comedian Sinbad and even had lunch with Queen Latifah. I never would have thought that I would be bumping heads with stars. Even though I’ll probably never make as much money as them, I really do love my job,” Pugh said.

With the encouraging words from Goodson, Pugh and other panel members, students were able to leave with a sense of hope.

“I’ve always been really impressed with the panel. Every year Bessie Buls does a great job. There is talk about a one-day workshop being developed. If it does happen, we will definitely be interested in participating,” Schmidt said.

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