Byline: Karen Kutz Daily Herald Correspondent
They were mesmerized and it wasn't even an action video that caught their attention.
Students at Meadow Glens Elementary School in Naperville learned a little about black history Tuesday during an assembly to mark teacher appreciation week.
Kacia Cooper, of Historical Perspectives for Children, gave a one-woman performance on the life of Mary McLeod Bethune, an American educator who sought improved racial relations and built a school for black children that later became Bethune-Cookman College.
"I liked the part when she became a teacher because I want to be a teacher," said second-grader Heidi Winkler after the performance.
"I learned that you can believe in yourself and not listen to what other people say about you," said Rebecca Janvrin, also in second grade.
Their comments would please Cooper, who said she enjoys playing Bethune because she is an inspiring historical character.
"I think especially little girls need to know there's a lot more they can do than be a mom," said Cooper. "And everyone needs to know that blacks did more than just pick cotton."
Cooper portrays Bethune from her childhood years in the late 1800s through her adult years when she founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls.
"I really like growing up right in front of the children's eyes," Cooper said. …