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Sweet Home graduates are Black History trailblazers

30-years ago first Black History event at school
Sweet Home graduates are Black History trailblazers
Posted at 5:07 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 18:22:57-05

AMHERST, NY (WKBW) — 7 Eyewitness News is celebrating Black History by uncovering unsung stories across Western New York.

Senior reporter Eileen Buckley takes us to Sweet Home High School in Amherst where three former students have a ‘mini reunion’ to tell about how they made history.

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1990's Sweet Home students who helped create first-ever Black History program at school

30-years ago three Sweet Home High School freshmen questioned why there was no Black History program at the school.

But Erica Boswell, Waltricia Singletary and Desiree Parker, all from Amherst, can proudly walk down memory lane and reflect on their achievement.

We followed them as they reminisced walking down the hallways of their Alma mater.

In the 1990's they were in minority at their high school.

“When we were here, there was a very small handful of African American students that went to the school in general,” recalled Parker.

“I can remember people being surprised that we were good students,” Boswell reflected.

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Erica Boswell, Waltricia Singletary and Desiree Parker talk with Sweet Home's Don Feldmann.

Boswell said they asked the assistant principal if they could start a Black History program.

“His response, at the time, was well we don’t celebrate French history month, we don’t celebrate German history month,” Boswell remembered.

But then he told the students they could seek a faculty adviser and create a proposal. All three say it was former social students teacher Amy Ramsay, now retired, who believed in them.

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Sweet Home teacher Amy Ramsay, now retired.

With her help, they formed Sweet Home's first Black History month program, a program that continues to this day.

“Here at Sweet Home it's like a melting pot,” remarked Dr. Kelly Luchey, crisis counselor at the high school.
Luchey says she is so proud to lead a program started by the former students.

“And it's important to show our students that it's not just about African Americans celebrating - African American history, but it's celebrating American history and learning about the contributions that African Americans have made to our country,” Luchey noted.

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First drill team at Sweet Home, 1990's.

Boswell, Singletary and Parker also formed the school's first-ever drill team, now known as the 'step' team.

With our camera rolling, we captured a special moment with the current team as they met the women who created it 30-years ago.

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Sweet Home grads meet current Steps team.

“What does it mean for your ladies to see these ladies that started it a few decades ago?” Buckley asked the step team.

The women and teens all laughed together in response.

“It’s just like a legacy basically - like a family reunion - low key,” replied Zaniya Vaudhn, Sweet Home senior.

Three women now with their own Black History legacy.