Deerfield's Black History Fair invites inspirational speakers

Children at Deerfield Elementary School in Edgewood met several successful and inspirational members of Harford County's African American community Thursday as part of its annual Black History Fair.

The expo, in its fifth year, showcases different professions, how that applies to their culture and the importance of staying in school.

Parent Liaison Shirley Warfield, who called the event her "baby," began the fair five years ago when she was asked to create something for Black History Month.

"I thought it would be nice for children to see people talk about themselves and their occupations and the importance of staying in school," Warfield said.

Since then, the fair has "really progressed," with more and more people wanting to get involved.

This year, 21 people spoke about their jobs, varying from nurses to bakers, and gave demonstrations to Deerfield's 500-plus students.

As Warfield explained, the children go from station to station in seven-minute intervals, and learn about that person and his or her career.

"They're all roundabout people," she said. Having that variety is important to Warfield and the event. "I try to get different people each year."

At Thursday's event were two deacons, one HVAC technician, several retired military people and law enforcement, two nurses, Patterson Mill High School's assistant principal, a few Aberdeen Proving Ground employees, a representative of the Harford County Health Department, a local baker and business owner, a parent and entrepreneur, photographer, technology expert and a Harford County Public Schools employee.

"They were so excited," Warfield said of the students who attended. "They loved it."

In addition to the guests speaking about their experiences, there were a few demonstrations, including baker Tiffany Evans showing off her confections and Robert Cook, IT person for Deerfield and other Harford County schools, giving students a peek of what a computer looks like on the inside.

As a souvenir of the day, students were given black and gold ribbons "to represent Black History Month," Warfield said. Last year, it was pencils adorned with the national colors of Africa.

For Warfield, the event is a demonstration of what it means to be proud of your culture, no matter what that may be.

"I'm proud of my background and [the fair] let's the children know to be proud of their background," she said.

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