Archway Programs Celebrates Black History Month

February 28, 2020

Staff, clients and students at Archway Programs celebrated Black History Month to honor the contributions made and highlight how the African American culture has profoundly shaped American culture in many ways. Programs throughout the organization held various Black History Month events and participated in a number of activities to remember important people and events in history while celebrating their achievements.

Students from Archway’s Lower School learned about African American artists and composers during their Music Program. Lucas Waldburger, Board Certified Music Therapist at the Archway Lower School, planned a week-long exploration of black artists and composers for students. Each class participated in their own unique blend of song listening, song recreation and movement from traditional and contemporary black musical culture. Students had a chance to play percussion instruments like the African Djembe and sing in distinctly African American song forms like Call-and-Response.

The Art Program at the Archway Lower School honored Black History month by participating in art lessons based on African culture led by Art Teacher Chayla Ortiz. Students explored the importance of masks in the African culture and created their own masks using a variety of styles and colors. They also learned about the different geometric designs of African huts and then created their own masterpieces.

Students from each of the classrooms at the Archway Upper School were assigned an African American who made important contributions or was involved in important events from American history. Students decorated their class bulletin boards with interesting facts regarding their assigned person. They continued to learn more about these important historical characters cumulating with a presentation from all twenty classrooms in the Upper School gymnasium.

The world renowned Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble visited Archway’s main campus on February 27th, 2020 and performed at the Archway Upper School in Evesham, New Jersey. Administrative staff, school staff and students from the Upper School, Lower School and Cooper’s Poynt gathered together for a phenomenal performance in the Upper School gymnasium. This is an event that Archway students look forward to each year, as part of the Archway Schools’ Black History Month celebration. This year, students and staff from the Archway School at Cooper’s Poynt traveled from Camden, New Jersey to join their peers for this year’s performance.

The Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble consist of different dance techniques based from an African culture as well as utilization of drums not only for a musical entertainment but also for communication purposes. The performers ranged from two years old to sixty years old. The Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble also visited Archway’s Adult Counseling and Therapy (ACT) Program earlier this month. Archway staff and adult clients enjoyed the performance so much that they got up and started to dance along. This was the first of hopefully many visits to Archway’s Partial Care location in Washington Township, New Jersey.

Counselors from Archway’s partial care youth programs, HOPE and DISCOVER, incorporated Black History facts into their weekly current events group and on their bulletin boards. Each week, youth took turns announcing inspirational quotes over the PA system from famous African Americans followed by trivia questions to test their knowledge and learn about history. Youth in each of the group rooms worked in teams to collectively choose their answer. The group room at the end of the week with the most correct answers won a prize. The real prize, however, was the opportunity to enrich everyone’s knowledge of the African culture and the impact these men and women made.

Archway’s before and after school care program, Just Kids, celebrated Black History month by participating in various group discussions and activities. One of the activities that children from Just Kids at John Glenn participated in was a directed portrait drawing activity of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Kids learned about the significance of his “I Have a Dream” speech.

To read more, click here. To see more footage from Archway’s #BlackHistoryMonth celebrations, visit our Facebook page at

#ArchwayPrograms #EmbracingDifferences #ImprovingLives #55YearsStrong

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