Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield ended the month of February by celebrating Black History Month with its sixth annual visit by the Newark Boys Chorus. Roosevelt’s Sharps and Flats singers joined the Chorus in musical selections.
The keynote speaker of the morning’s celebration was Reverend Dr. De Forest B. Soaries, Jr, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset. Dr. Soaries also holds the distinction of serving as New Jersey's 30th Secretary of State, making him the first African-American male to serve as a constitutional officer of the state. He is also an author and a former chairman of the United States Election Assistance Commission.
His message to the entire study body, numbering more than 700 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, and faculty, administrators and guests, was to “never give up on your future.” He reminded the audience of the struggles of many people of all races and ethnicity and emphasized that the most important challenge is “how we treat each other.”
A slide show depicting the many contributions of African Americans concluded the morning’s assembly. Roosevelt Principal Stew Carey thanked Dr. Soaries and the Newark Boys Chorus and its Director, Donald Morris, for sharing their talents and inspirations with the Roosevelt school community, and echoed Dr. Soaries’ message of respect.