African American History

The Arts are Alive and Thrive in Chester

Recently, as I drove through overtown Chester toward the CEF office I stopped at the light at the newsstand on Avenue of the States. Waiting for the light, I was enjoying the music on my car radio, humming along and bobbing my head to the music. Across the street was a young driver, arms waving, singing and really rocking out to her music. On the opposite corner, an elderly man with gigantic headphones was grooving - head swaying and fingers snapping. The three of us, in our own little worlds, but enjoying the universal pleasure of music made me smile!

The Avenue of the States in Chester has a rich heritage of music, art and poetry that continues today with storefronts displaying original art; popup galleries; sophisticated boutiques and, when it’s nice weather, music from a street musician or two.

In February, the Chester Education Foundation was a co-sponsor of the Performing Arts Showcase at the STEM Academy. The audience of friends, family, staff and faculty enjoyed the talents of students who took the stage to sing, dance, recite and inspire. The Dover Air Force Base Honor Guard posted the colors as a ceremonial opening to the showcase. Guest performers included Master of Ceremonies, Amillion the Poet; Reverend John G. Moore, Sr. reciting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech; and the Kuumba African Dance Ensemble.

Dr. Jason Hamer, Principal, welcomed everyone to the STEM Academy,

It is our pleasure to welcome you to tonight’s event. It is an honor to showcase the talents of our STEM students while honoring their hard work, dedication, and academic achievements.

The student performers received standing ovations from their classmates! Performers were: Dai’Tiana Finesse, Danielle P. Jeter, The Fantastic Four, Dakota Richards, Taaliyah Allen, Giuliana Simms, Khiron Grasty, Khaleelah Griffin, Senae Davis, Tayshaun Bland, Omillio Johnson, Zhyonah Aikens, Imani Croston and Hassan Vega.

A Support System

Like my fellow travelers on the Avenue of the Arts, the audience of more than 200 expressed their delight by singing along, finger snaps and applause for another great evening of arts and culture in Chester.

By Cheryl Cunningham, Executive Director of Chester Education Foundation