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July 16, 2024

Bell Academy Honors Its Own

Part of Black History Month Program

Special to The Bolivar Bullet

Each year, Bell Academy hosts an Inspiration Program during Black History Month, where the entire school honors a person in the community who is an inspiration to others. This year, Bell chose to recognize one of its own, longtime school secretary, Pernita Love. A special presentation was made to her on February 24, during the program in the school’s cafeteria with special performances given by students in honor of Love, as well as speeches by former Bell Academy Principal, Dr. Debbie Fioranelli, and fifth grade student, Kodi Martin.

“We have honored businessmen, legislators and judges in the past,” said Bell Academy principal, Tiffany Russell–who has been at the school for seven years– “But this year, our faculty chose Mrs. Love–and it’s certainly well-deserved.  We kept the whole process a secret until the program, which is was particularly hard this year since Mrs. Love is literally my ‘right hand!’ laughed Russell. “And her last name certainly is synonymous with, and exemplifies, her true spirit.”

Now in its 13th year, the Inspiration Program seeks to honor people who are first nominated, and then voted on, by a special community connections committee, headed by Amy Tarver, at Bell Academy.

“We all voted this through somewhat secretive internet means so that Mrs. Love wouldn’t be the wiser,” said Russell. “In fact, we even gave her a paper document to throw her off a bit! It wasn’t easy. We’d meet behind closed doors here in my office to discuss her or talk after hours. But, it was all worth it to honor such a special and dear lady.”

Russell said she counts on Love in so many ways. “It’s hard for me to function if she ever has to miss a day,” said Russell. “She is the heartbeat of this school. Mrs. Love is the first person seen when others enter the school, she’s the kind voice who answers the phone. Even on a personal level, if she thinks I haven’t had enough to eat or look tired, she’ll say something to me about it or bring some food. I don’t know what the school–or I–would do without her. We’re really all of her children–she takes care of each of us here at Bell.”

All of the grade levels at Bell Academy performed original songs, poems or gave power-point presentations to honor Love at the program, said Russell. 

“They did such a great job,” said Russell. “And showed their appreciation through their talents and originality. I know Mrs. Love appreciated it.” 

“I was very pleasantly shocked–and I did appreciate being honored in this special way,” said Love, who has been at Bell Academy for 13 years and worked in the Cleveland School District for 33 years. 

“I was overwhelmed, but it was a pleasure. I was happy to have my family members on hand to see all of it and I appreciate Mrs. Russell so much for this, too.”