Engaging students during Black History Month

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Roanoke City's school district and Roanoke College is finding ways to engage students during Black History Month.

The Grandin Theatre is usually empty during a weekday morning.

But today several hundred roanoke city kids are rushing in to catch the next showing.

To recognize Black History Month, the theater has partnered with the school system.

"It's critical I think it shows throughout the year, diversity is the source of our strength in the community and we must build these bridges between us and the community shows we are together," Josh Burton, Wasena Elementary School Principal said.

Together to share not only black history but also uplifting films about African-Americans.

And those images and messages have a major impact on students like Dasia Chambers, who understands the importance of the month.

"Make sure you can be friends with everyone, not just people who are the same skin color," Chambers said.

Over at Roanoke College, they're doing the same.

Hosting weekly film nights and guest speakers about black history month and diversity.

"It's not discounting anyone but it is bringing to the forefront those who are sometimes marginalized t the forefront and celebrating the accomplishments that sometimes in our everyday life we get so busy and we don't give recognition to," said Juliet Lowery, Roanoke College.

Students say the films make it easy to spark discussion about race.

"Learning about these histories are really helpful to come together whenever we have difficult times of political or religious climates to learn about each other and understand different viewpoints," said Alondra Alba, Roanoke College Student.