BAY SHORE, N.Y. (PIX11) – Students on Long Island are learning about what it takes to achieve a successful career. Principal Carlton Brown started African American History Day at Gardiner Manor School in Bay Shore 28 years ago, and it is still going strong.

“It’s become successful because the professionals we have look forward to it every year. Speaking to some of the new people that come in, they talk about they never knew something like this existed and how empowering it is to see young people so excited about their careers,” said Brown.

There are 40 speakers in all. They come in groups of 10 with eight to nine students seated in a circle. Students come in with prepared questions. After 15 minutes, they rotate to allow the next group of students to sit down. 

From law enforcement, entrepreneurs and educators, dozens of professionals come out each year to also teach valuable lessons to fourth, fifth and sixth graders about the successes of past and present African Americans.

Iconic hip-hop artist Parrish Smith, of EPMD, has been attending the event for the last 25 years. He has a special way of connecting with each student.

“I kick a rhyme. Then we freestyle together,” said Smith. 

Smith said building a connection through rhyme is a great way to leave a lasting impact. When it comes to achieving their dreams, anything is possible.