Weir High holds black history bowl

WEIRTON – Fifteen Weir High School seniors were chosen to participate in the third-annual Dr. Carter G. Woodson Black History Bowl Friday in the high school’s Milton J. Weinberg Theatre.

The students, split into three groups of five, competed in a quiz-show format, answering questions about black history, with a special emphasis on the accomplishments and history of Weirton’s black community.

The children who participated in the competition were recommended by their history teachers and were given the opportunity to study together, but also spent time outside of school studying black history on the local and national level.

“Equality is the most important thing,” said student Nick Campbell.

The competition, which is in its third year, was founded by Helen Jackson-Gillison, West Virginia All-Black Schools Sports and Academic Hall of Fame president and chief executive officer. Jackson-Gillison also is a Weirton-area resident. She has turned the competition over to school officials.

“(Helen) Jackson-Gillison was instrumental in this – she started it,” said Principal Dan Enich. “She has handed over the reigns to us. This is good, competitive fun, and, at the same time, (the students) are learning black history.”

Cindy Jividen, senior civics teacher, and Assistant Principal Kristin Bissette helped organize the event, and Assistant Principal Mike McKenzie “hosted” the competition and read the questions. Student Stephen White provided technical assistance and kept score.

“We do this so they understand the importance (of black history),” said Bissette. “When we started it, it was local black history. They also look at national black history, but there’s a lot of local history, too. So these are things that their parents and grandparents may have witnessed.

“I want to thank Ms. Jividen and the rest of the history department for all their work.”

For each question a team answered correctly, they received 10 points. While the team members could confer with one another, the team captain was the spokesperson for each group. Each team had nine seconds to answer a question. If a question was answered incorrectly, the next team had a chance to answer it. If all three teams answered a question incorrectly, it was discarded. In the case of a two- or three-way tie, bonus questions outside the study material, but still part of the curriculum, would establish the tie-breaker.

Team Soul Force included Captain Daniel Morgan, Nick Campbell, Morgan Cassels, Ryan Dragonir and Kim Persina. I Have a Dream Team included Captain Dalton Allen, Ontasia Petteway, Josh McDonald, Emily Tomer and Noah Woods. The Freedom Riders included Captain Matt Tenaglio, Akeem Curenton, Kaylee Delong, Ella Jennings and Josh Sayre.

Fox’s Pizza and Chico Fiesta provided prizes for the students.

(Wallace-Minger can be contacted at