February 28, 2020

For Black History Month, this teacher comes to class every day dressed up as a trailblazing historical figure
Every day this February, Latoya McGriff entered her classroom as a different person.One day, she donned a tutu and was ballerina Misty Copeland; on another, she wore a robe, signifying that she was the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. McGriff is a first grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School in Suffolk, Virginia, and in honor of Black History Month, she dressed up every day as a prominent African American historical figure, focusing on those with connections to Virginia."I just wanted to bring history alive for the kids," McGriff told Good Morning America. Most of the students at Creekside are black, and McGriff said it is "important for the children to see that people who look like them have made contributions, because it reassures them that they can, too. It's hard to believe in something you don't see."Each outfit got the kids talking, and asking McGriff to share more information about the person. She especially enjoyed donning a 1950s style dress and cardigan and spending the day as Mary Jackson, the NASA mathematician and aerospace engineer who played a critical role in sending the first astronaut into space.Jackson wasn't allowed in meetings because she was black and a woman, McGriff said, yet still, "she prevailed." The teacher hopes that by hearing about Jackson and other trailblazers, her students learn "no matter what the circumstances, they can make a difference in this world," she said. "No matter where they come from, how they look, they can make a difference."

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