First grade teacher, LaToya Smith McGriff is making waves with her students. The Suffolk, Virginia teacher decided to teach her students about Black History Month with a trip back in time.

McGriff tells Red Tricycle, “I dressed up as different African American historical figures to show students that people who look like them made and continue to make contributions to the world. It was a learning experience for my students, colleagues, and myself.”

Throughout all of February, McGriff arrived to school dressed as a famous African-American who made remarkable contributions to America. Starting Feb. 3, the first grade teacher kicked off her Black History unit by dressing as Mary Jackson, one of the “human computers” depicted in the film, Hidden Figures.

McGriff ran the gauntlet, also dressing up to represent Ella Fitzgerald, Arthur Ashe, Mack Benn Jr., Colonel Fred Cherry and Henriette Lacks, to name a few.

Inspired by another teacher who dressed up as a storybook character, McGriff put her own spin to help her students connect with Black History Month. While she ended up choosing a lot of trailblazers from her home state of Virginia, the teacher showed just how important each and every one was to the progression of our entire country.

––Karly Wood



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