Black History was brought to life for teenagers at East High

Black History Month

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Students at East High School said they’re excited about a new Black History Month program. It’s not a look back at history, but a look forward to their future.

On Tuesday, the students met with more than a dozen influential leaders in the Rochester community — and lifelong mentors.

Philanthropists, authors and entrepreneurs joined the Rochester police chief to bring Black History to life for a select group of students.

“I met someone who is a potential mentor to me, Ms. Melody Cofield,” East High School student Deziree said. “She’s aligned in the field I want to go to — I want to major in education policy and African American history. She’s really someone who’s influential and shows me qualities that I see in myself.”

Dr. Melody Cofield is a philanthropist and an author.

When asked how it feels to be considered a mentor for Deziree and other students, Cofield said, “I think that it is as much a gift for me as it might be for her.”

Cofield said she hopes the students learn to recognize obstacles as personal challenges.

“How to ground yourself in such a way that you don’t give up and the fact that there are obstacles out there and there are personal challenges out there to help develop and improve you throughout your lifetime.”

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary was also at the event and encouraged the students to work hard.

“You can work hard and accomplish anything you want. When I was young I always wanted to be a police officer so I found people in the community who were police officers so I could kind of emulate that and here I am, chief of police. Who would have thought 20 years ago that I’d be the chief of police, so dream big!”

Deziree said it’s a privilege to be around the people she looks up to. “It’s an experience that we often don’t get and I’m really fortunate to have that experience.

The leaders helped students learn about career paths and more.

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