Community volunteers, former Major Leaguer help RHES celebrate Black History Month

ROCK HALL — The elementary school here hosted its annual Black History Month celebration Friday, Feb. 23 with volunteer readers coming into the classrooms and an assembly with a local sports legend.

In the morning, guest readers gathered in the media center, where they picked out books from the school’s library collection and others brought in for the day from the Chestertown-based Sumner Hall organization.

With their books in hand, the guests were led to classrooms by Rock Hall Elementary School fifth graders. They read the books aloud, showing the pictures and discussing Black History Month.

Guests included Kent County Public Schools administrators, local officials, retired educators, community leaders and others.

“Our annual Black History Month celebration was so much fun,” organizer Jory Mitzel, the Community Schools specialist at Rock Hall Elementary School, said in a news release.

She thanked all of the readers and volunteers for making the event so successful.

After reading books, answering questions and leading discussions, the volunteers enjoyed a catered luncheon of soul food favorites in the media center.

While the read-in may have ended midday, the Black History Month celebration continued in the afternoon with a special visit by former Major League Baseball player Ryan Thompson.

Thompson, who grew up near Rock Hall and attended schools there, was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1987 soon after graduation from Kent County High School.

An outfielder, he spent the early 1990s with the New York Mets.

A couple of contracts later in 2000, he was a member of the New York Yankees team that bested the Mets in the World Series.

Mitzel had a special message for Thompson, highlighting the influence that he, as a Rock Haller, has on local students.

“Thank you Mr. Thompson for coming back to your roots and motivating our students that it all starts with a dream,” said Mitzel, who played softball beginning with the county’s age-group program and up through her four years at Kent County High School and later coached at her alma mater.


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