The Rev. Shannon Sabsook asked Roger Bell Elementary School students an important question.

The Rev. Shannon Sabsook asked Roger Bell Elementary School students an important question.

"Why Black History Month? Why is it so important?" he said during the schoolís Black History Month program.

Then he answered his own question.

"We should take our history, learn it and have it propel us into the future," he said.

Principal Paul Gainey had the same message.

"We should recognize the contributions of African-Americans and use it to be better Americans and to be better people," he said. "It takes everybody to make our country great and our school great."

Students celebrated Black History Month with singing, dancing, drumming and a skit about Rosa Parks, who set the stage for civil rights when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger.

Also part of the event were four people playing the role of the First Family, with messages to respect parents and teachers, to study and stay in school, and to eat healthy and exercise.

Fourth-grader Justice Felton kept the beat with a solo drum performance, and the Roger Bell dancers broke up into groups and performed for the students and a large group of parents who attended.

Students took turns giving biographies of African-Americans who had made significant contributions to the history of the country.

"A lot of our history was untold," Sabsook told the students during his speech. "Blacks played a large role in building the country but it was hidden behind something called prejudice."

He asked the students how many of them had dreams and talked about the dreams of civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr. who hoped people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

"Regardless of the exterior, whatís on the outside, itís all about whatís on the inside," Sabsook said. "Each of us has the responsibility to live out the great words of Dr. Martin Luther King. The question is when can we turn that dream into reality.

"I believe Dr. Kingís dream is coming true. Now, itís up to you to continue to make his dream come true."