By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
BENTON HARBOR — While the real Steve Harvey wasn’t there, dozens of area students shared laughs Friday playing Black History Family Feud inside Whirlpool Corp.’s Benton Harbor Technology Center.
Students took part in the “Family Feud”-type event by answering Black History Month-related trivia. Such categories required participants to name some of the most influential black athletes, writers and inventors. A bonus question was naming all the members from The Jackson 5.
The event was put on by Whirlpool African American Network – one of the appliance company’s employee resource groups.
Inside one of the Tech Center’s conference rooms, students split into two groups and formed a circle for each team. Before each round, a member from both groups was chosen to go up and buzz in if they knew the answer to the question.
Cameron Hampton, a sophomore at Lakeshore High School, was on the winning team Friday.
“It was pretty fun learning a lot of new people that were important to black history,” he said. “The team hollering the most thought they were going to come out on top. I felt like the buzzers were rigged, but we still won and that’s all that matters.”
Students did some legacy writing – where they wrote down what they wanted to do – conducted career rotations where they networked with Whirlpool employees and ended the day with a tour of the Tech Center.
Hampton said he enjoyed when the Whirlpool workers spoke to them about how to accomplish their goals and have a successful life.
“It’s surprising how accomplished they are right now,” he said. “A lot of people are still working on their careers, but the fact that they sat down with us is amazing.”
Ervin Poncho Eddie, a brand manager for Whirlpool and community lead for WAAN, said the network has been hosting the Black History Family Feud for the last four years. Since then, it has progressed to include the tours and legacy writing.
Eddie said the reason WAAN incorporated all of the activities in one day was to show students what opportunities were available “in their own backyard.”
“The part I usually like for this event is the legacy writing because I believe it’s not enough that we just do a review of black history,” Eddie said. “We expose them to different people with different paths at Whirlpool, as a way to see what those seeds will plant in their minds about how their lives may be different. Listening to what they are going to write is what I look forward to hearing.”
Students from Benton Harbor, Berrien Springs, Coloma, St. Joseph and Lakeshore high schools were invited to attend Friday’s proceedings.
Brandy Reed, a senior at Benton Harbor High School, said the atmosphere made it feel like they were a part of the well-known television show.
“The best experience in there was learning some new black history,” she said. “I didn’t know a lot of writers and I didn’t know a lot of inventors. It opened me up to a whole new variety. A lot of us had fun.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 20, 2016)