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Celebrating Black History Month

RIHS Black History Month 2024

Theme: Come Jam with Us: Music is Food for the Soul

Seminar #1: African Americans in Films and Fine Arts that Contribute to Film Making

February 14, 2024


Gaye Shannon Burnett, an artist and community activist, co-founded the Azubuike African American Council for the Arts. With over 26 years of dedication to the Quad Cities community, Gaye has diligently worked in drama, art, cultural, and Black History programs, especially for young people. Her artistic journey includes after-school arts initiatives and summer drama, film, and art programs.


This  presentation will share information about the Azubuike African American Council for The Arts program that teaches young people how to develop films. Students will also be provided an opportunity to share their experiences of being in a fine arts programs during their academic career.


Seminar #2: Africans American Poets/Lyricists of Yesterday & Today

February 21, 2024


Aubrey Barnes, affectionately known as "Mister Aubs," hails from the city of Rock Island, Illinois. His journey in the realm of poetry, writing, and education has left an indelible mark on both local and international communities.

As the visionary founder of "Roaring Rhetoric," the longest-standing poetry open mic in the Quad Cities, Barnes has provided a platform for countless voices to be heard, fostering a rich tapestry of artistic expression. Committed to empowering the youth through the arts, he also established "Young Lions Roar," an organization dedicated to enabling students to use poetry not only as a form of self-expression but also as a tool to enhance their mental wellness and advocate for themselves and their communities.

This presentation will addres the art of poetry, some African American poets from the past (historical figures, and being a contemporary poet/lyricist. Students art Rocky will also be given the opportunity to present their poems to their peers in a poetry slam.



Trivia Night

  • Trivia Tournament
  • Silent Auction
  • 50/50 Raffle 
  • And more…

This fund raiser will help the African American Heritage Club raise funds to take students to Nashville, Tn. to visit an HBCU and the National Museum of African American Music. 


February 23, 2024




Rock Island High School Cafeteria




Black History Program

February 26, 2024, 8:00 am

Theme: Come Jam with Us: Music is Food for the Soul


Guest Speaker/Singer: Alysha McElroy-Hodges

RIHS Class of 2013


Guest Singer: Ashley Dean 

RIHS Class of 2009


Guest Singer: Jereen Hardin Phillips

RIHS Class of 1994


Guest Singer: Nina Little


Guest Dancer: Essence Willmington

Performance by the RIHS Choir and Chamber Singers


Black Academic Excellence Breakfast

RIHS Library

February 29, 2024 

8am - 10:30am


This breakfast takes out the time to recognize African American/African Seniors who have earned a 3.0 G.P.A. or above while attending Rock Island High School. This year we will also recognize African American/African students who are participants in our  Fine Arts Programs at Rocky.


Speaker -Ty Lewis, Class of 2018


Graduating from Rocky with a 3.7 grade point average exemplifies that Ty Lewis understands the steps a student takes while attending Rocky to obtain academic excellence. Ty was also influenced by and contributed to Rocky’s Fine Arts program. He played the alo saxophone and was a member of Rocky’s Band and Marching Band. After graduating Rocky he attended Blackhawk College and St. Ambrose University. Now Ty is the Director of African American Leadership Society and the Emergining Young Leaders at United Way. We are very proud of Ty!!!