Black Belt Friday. What is that? Well, I had no idea what it was, but it turned it to be one of the best experiences I’ve had this semester so far! When I was given the chance to travel to the Butler County Board of Education Central Office with my classmates I jumped at the chance. I mean who wouldn't? It was a chance to get out of class and I heard I was going to be given free food. I mean, win win, right? Well, it turned out to be so much more than a chance to skip out on my science test. I met so many wonderful people and was given advice that I know is going to lead me in my bright future.

The emcees of the program were students from Georgiana School (Laflora Mixon) and Greenville High School (Keyshawn Sellers). The program began with the presentation of colors by Butler County’s JROTC Program. Everyone in the room stood and our voices became one as we repeated the Pledge of Allegiance. Afterwards, our superintendent, Dr. John Stryker, spoke to everyone in the room and thanked them from coming. You could really sense the passion he had for the students and staff of Butler County and GUA as he spoke to the audience. We then had the GUA Talent Showcase. Students from all three high schools of Butler County (Mckenzie, Georgiana, and Greenville) showed a variety of the wonderful talents they possessed. Bryce Croley, a student from Mckenzie High School, read the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Next, students from Greenville’s Jazz Band program played a variety compositions, one being the well known piece Careless Whisper by George Michael. Lastly, three students from Georgiana (Mykel Cheatham, Ashanti Lewis, and Janiya Jones) sang a variety of gospel songs while the audience clapped along with the upbeat music. Ashanti encourage the crowd to “get lit for the lord.”

The fun did not stop there. Without missing a beat Dr. Tonya Perry introduced herself the room and led everyone into a chant. Dr. Perry started the chant, which went like “ G! I got your G! I got your G! E! I got your E! I got your E!” The chant continued until the words GEAR UP were spelled. Dr. Perry explained to the students of Butler County that she would always be there for them, and she would be there to help them gear up for their future.

After all of the fun, things became a bit more serious. We were introduced to our UAB Mentors. Unlike most groups, my group had two mentors instead of one. My mentors, Aprar Bilbeisi and Rhiannon, were two outstanding women who had a lot of knowledge to share. They shared stories about their lives and how they became UAB students. Whenever anyone had a question, whether it was about the FAFSA, ACT scores, or choosing the right college, they were always there with the answers to our questions.

Then came the really good part of the program. Food. Our lunch was catered by Butler County’s Culinary Program. They had a variety amazing food for everyone to enjoy. For those who wanted to try something new, they had a variety spinach wraps to enjoy. But for those who wanted to stick to the more traditional food, they had grilled hotdogs and hamburgers to enjoy also.

After eating lunch the program started to come to an end. Different leaders in our community shared the history of the Butler County School System. They told us about the history of our schools and how they became to be the way they are today. While telling the history of Georgiana’s School, Mr. Allen Whittle said something I will never forget. “ The day you lose fear, is the day you will fail. Always keep the fear of failure and you will always succeed.” I believe Mr. Allen is saying to always have a small amount of fear of failure in you, and to use that fear to drive you towards success.

In conclusion, Black Belt Friday is a day of learning and becoming prepared for the future. It is also a day of showing the world what the students of GUA has to offer, and showing GUA students what the world has to offer them.

 By Kiara Posey
Georgiana School