The Black History Month programs at Westerville Central and Westerville South high schools this year are taking different approaches on a similar topic: identity.

Westerville Central’s “Under My Fro” program explores finding your identity beyond your appearance and what it means to be a Black teen amid the racial unrest and widespread protests following the death of George Floyd.

“It’s nice to be able to speak out about the experience because no one is going to know how you’re feeling,” said WCHS senior Rugie Kabia, who performs throughout the show.”For us to perform and let people know this is what we go through and for you to understand, it can create a closer community and better equity within Westerville.”

Meanwhile, Westerville South’s Black Excellence Celebration: For the Love of Us show deals with loving one’s identity, exploring culture, history, journeys, struggles and relationships with one another and family.

Students from both programs are drawing from raw emotion — which they want to convey in their productions.

“For most years, we’ve sugar-coated certain events that have happened in Black history and this year, that isn’t the approach — we are being raw and uncut,” said WSHS senior Brago, who helped put the program together.

Each show features a variety of student performances, including dance, spoken word, scripted scenes, rap and singing.

WESTERVILLE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

Under My Fro

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24

Westerville Central High School Auditorium

Tickets: $5 (Purchase tickets here.)

“I want the audience to walk out remembering that there is more to them, specifically Black people. The show has a segment about how witnessing police brutality, facing colorism, and harsh parenting can affect the Black child’s mental health. I want kids to know that they are seen, they are heard, and they matter.” — Senior Kennedy Meador, who wrote the show and serves as the program’s director.

WESTERVILLE SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL

Black Excellence Celebration: For the Love of Us

4 & 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23

Westerville South High School Auditorium

Tickets: $8 (Purchase them here.)

“We want our audience to not only have a good laugh but to see the beauty in Black culture, the ugly in America’s history and feel a sense of unity with our ending scene,” Brago said.

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