HAT Lab Brings New Programming After School

Through art projects, quilts and oral histories, Covington students and residents are uncovering and preserving the African American experience in the city.

Recently, students in the afterschool program at Glenn O. Swing Elementary School used what they learned to create their own comic shorts to highlight everyday heroes. 

"They learned about different heroes (fictional and non-fictional), created their own superhero and a mini comic strip of them overcoming an obstacle,” said Jameela Salaah, program manager for youth and family development at The Center for Great Neighborhoods.

The activity was part of the HAT (History, Art & Technology) Lab, an 8-week program where students use three categories of history, art and technology (such as coding, researching and photography), as well as the students’ own character strengths to complete a themed-mini service learning project, Salaah said.

The HAT Lab is part of a larger project called “Crafting Stories, Making History: the African American Experience in Covington, KY” funded by a $52,000 Library of Congress grant received by the Kenton County Public Library in partnership with The Center for Great Neighborhoods. The grant provides funds for a community research project centered on African American history in Covington, Salaah said.

At John G. Carlisle Elementary School, students learned about oral history and interviewing. They interviewed two employees at the Library of Congress and found out about the importance of letter writing in history.

The HAT Lab will visit the other Covington elementary schools (Sixth District, Latonia and Ninth District) next year, Salaah said.

The library grant also will pay for artists-in-residence and allow community members to engage in a community history project that lasts until April 2023, according to information on the Library of Congress website. Residents will be able to use the Library of Congress digital collections for the project.

The Kenton County library is hoping to preserve the legacy and lives of African Americans, particularly in the Eastside neighborhood of Covington, according to information about the grant. 

Category: Education
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