Thursday, October 22, 2009

Role Model

Not ideal but at least they tried

In today's society where only 3 out of 100 black males entering kindergarten will graduate from
college it's imperative that we as individuals do all that we can to buck this trend.
Every 5 seconds during the school day, a black public school student is suspended. Every 46 seconds during the school day, a black high school student drops out. Those of us that have achieved higher education and have "made something" of ourselves have a responsibility to lift as we climb and become bridge builders for our youth. If we don't then I fear that blacks in America, especially black males, will become a lost cause.


An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim-
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head.
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for


We must not only think of ourselves but those who will come behind us. In this day and age there are so many pitfalls that can trip the youth in their journey to becoming successful and well rounded adults. I'm not going to be the one to blame BET, entertainers or movies for this. Growing up I watched a lot of violence on television and I listened to a lot of rap music. I believe that I turned out the way I did because I had plenty of positive role models in my life that taught me the value of getting a good education and living life on the straight and narrow. These role models weren't just my parents, they were teachers, coaches and parents of friends.
My mission to you is think about what you can do to help someone who may or may not have been in your shoes. If you already have and are doing what you can to help the cause then kudos to you.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2001). The Condition of Education,
2001. U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Department of Education. (1999). Hope for Urban Education: A Study of
Nine High-Performing, High-Poverty, Urban Elementary Schools. U.S. Department of

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blackboard Feature: Steve Perry - 100% Go To College

HARTFORD, Connecticut (CNN) -- Principal Steve Perry doesn't believe in cursory inspections. For him, every single detail matters. T's are always crossed, I's are always dotted. Shirts are always buttoned and tucked in.

During his daily morning hallway inspections, he reprimands a student not wearing the Capital Prep school approved sweatshirt with a "That's not our gray." He then quickly peers into another classroom to witness a student acting up. "Don't do it! Don't do it! Don't do it!" he warns sternly. The student retorts "Why not?" Perry knowingly looks at him and simply says, "You're the upperclassman" and with that, the student sheepishly walks away.

It's all part of the daily routine of tough love and high expectations at Capital Preparatory Magnet School in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. It's a public magnet school, with a college prep school attitude. As Perry says, "If you don't want to go to college, don't go to Capital Prep. Go somewhere else."

Perry's demanding approach has yielded big results. The school of just under 300 sixth- through 12th-grade students boasts a near 0 percent dropout rate. That's a stunning achievement considering Hartford is one of the lowest performing districts in Connecticut, a state with one of the largest achievement gaps between black and white students in the nation. According to the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement NOW, an educational advocacy group, black students in Connecticut are, on average, three grade levels behind their white peers.

Capital Prep, a year-round school that is more than 80 percent black and Latino, can boast of sending every graduating member of its senior class on to a four-year college. In the four years since Perry founded the school, he has sent 80 students on to college. See how Capital Prep is defying the odds »

Perry founded the school with the specific purpose of creating a school that would serve students with backgrounds similar to his. Born to a teenage mother, Perry grew up impoverished in a public housing project just outside Hartford. He recalls, "I had to be a principal at some point, or a prisoner, because I spent more time in the principal's office than the principal."

But it was Perry's fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Kensel, who saw the potential in Perry and set him straight. Perry knew he wanted to do the same for others.

"We decided we were going to open a school. We were going to serve mainly black and Latino children, but the only color I was looking at was the color of success," says Perry.

Perry has achieved that by holding staff and students to the highest expectations.

Breonna Arnum, 17, a senior at Capital Prep, believes it works.

"It makes a difference because everybody has the same goals as you. So it's not like anyone is there to pull you back. Everyone is going forward," Arnum says.

Her mother, Waynette Arnum, agrees. She believes it's a particular boon for students of color to be immersed in an environment with high demands.

"When you're in a school system and people look like you, and they're just as bright as you are, and they're kicking those As out and those 96s and 97s like you, you also know that you're surrounded by people just like yourself who are achievers," says Waynette Arnum. "And it's not an anomaly; it's not something that's rare."

She believes that seeing success is imperative, because black children need role models who look like them. Sound off: How can we keep our kids in school?

"For students of color, for black students, first of all, when you look at who your role models are, when you look at people that look like you, it tells us that we can do things," says Waynette Arnum.

In addition, she says black children are too often overlooked.

"I think that students of color are automatically stereotyped sometimes when they go into school systems that are predominantly white," says Waynette Arnum. "The stereotype that there's no father in the home, that the parents don't care; we have a plethora of stereotypes -- that the kids have behavioral problems, that the boys should all be put on Ritalin or something of that sort. Yes, these are definitely issues."

These are issues all black parents must face, says Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine. Burt-Murray is the mother of two black boys and she and her husband are not only parents, but also advocates for their children.

"It starts with formulating that relationship with the teacher, letting the teacher know that you are an involved and concerned parent," says Burt-Murray.

Waynette Arnum agrees that parents have to speak up. That's exactly what she did.

"I definitely had to sit there and let the teachers know, let the school system know, let the parents know and let my daughter know that yes, I am an advocate," says Arnum. "And, all students deserve to learn equally."

Arnum believes Breonna was overlooked in elementary school, simply because of the color of her skin. It prompted her to not only stand up for her own daughter, but also to join a Students of Color Committee in the town of Manchester, Connecticut.

"There were definitely issues that were particular to my daughter that later I knew would be particular to all students of color. So that's how come I had to be involved," recalls Arnum.

Arnum believes if she hadn't stood up for her daughter, things could have turned out differently.

"I feel as though if I hadn't started off the way I had, Breonna still would have slipped though the cracks, even though we push her at home," Arnum says.

Perry, the dedicated principal, agrees that black children can frequently be the victims of stereotypes. It's the reason he pushed so hard to create an environment where everyone was held to the same expectations.

"In our school, it's college prep for everybody; it doesn't matter if you're black or white. They can see that it's OK for them to be smart and black," says Perry.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blackboard Feature: Meharry Medical College (Part 1 - The History)

What is Meharry Medical College?

Meharry Medical College was founded in 1876 to educate African American physicians, scientists, and dentists….
The Meharry motto is “Worship of God through service to mankind.”
There is a 132 year period of Meharry Medical College’s history, beginning prior to its formal organization in 1876 with a singular act of grace bestowed by the young farmer, Samuel Meharry, upon a family of freed slaves who assisted him when his salt wagon became disabled as he traveled though Kentucky.

The story goes like this…..
In the 1820’s, 16-year-old Samuel Meharry was hauling a load of salt through the Kentucky wilderness when his wagon slid off the road into a muddy ditch. With rain and nightfall limiting his options, Samuel searched for help. Peering through the darkness, he saw a modest cabin that was home to a black family recently freed from slavery. Ignoring risks involved in responding to a stranger’s knock on the door, the family – still vulnerable to slave hunters paid to return freedmen to bondage – gave Samuel Meharry food and shelter for the night.

At morning’s light, they helped the young visitor raise his wagon from the mud, and Samuel continued on his way. The black family’s act of kindness touched young Meharry so deeply that he vowed to repay it. “I have no money now,” he said as he departed “but when I am able, I shall do something for your race.”Tragically, history never recorded the name of the courageous black family, and perhaps their identity even receded in the mind of Samuel Meharry as he grew prosperous in the years that followed.

Even so, 40 years later, as the Civil War ended and black citizens began their long struggle for rights guaranteed by the Constitution, Meharry seized an opportunity to redeem his vow. When leading Methodist clergymen and laymen organized the Freedmen's Aid Society in August 1866, to "elevate former slaves, intellectually and morally," Samuel acted. He and his four brothers - Alexander, David, Hugh, and Jesse - pledged their support to Central Tennessee College's emerging medical education program. With $30,000 in cash and real property, the Meharry brothers repaid the black family's Act of Kindness with one of their own: In 1876, they funded the College's Medical Department, which evolved over time into what we now know as Meharry Medical College.
Today, the contemporary Salt Wagon image symbolizes those several acts of kindness and philanthropy and countless others performed by the College's loyal supporters.

The mission of Meharry Medical College exists to improve the health and health care of minority and underserved communities by offering excellent education and training programs in the health sciences, placing special emphasis on providing opportunities to people of color and individuals from disadvantage backgrounds, regardless of race or ethnicity; delivering high-quality health services; and conducting research that fosters the elimination of health disparities.

Year after year Meharry Medical College produces the most African American MDs, Dentists, and PhD's in the country!

Have you ever heard the story of Meharry's history? Do you know anyone that attends or attended Meharry? Does it make you proud that such an institution exists?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Firstly, I will say when and if you comment to this, you can make your comment anonymous. No one has to know who you are. The way you do it is simple. When you click comment, there is a drop down box labeled this:

Comment As:

When you look at the options, the option of anonymous is at the very bottom. Just Click on Anonymous.

With that being said, women are always an interesting topic for men even if it is absolutely 100% true that women will never figure out men and men will never figure out women. Considering the fact that I am an engineer by education, I habitually analyze things at work and it is a natural process for me to do it in other aspects of my life. Anyhow, here is the million dollar question.

Considering all of your relationships you have ever had and your current relationships, if there was ONE thing that you CAN NOT and WILL NOT deal with in a relationship, what would it be? Now be careful because some of you may  have had something in your mind that you declared that you will never deal with and ended up dealing with that so please be honest to yourself and anonymous on the blog. Here is a list of things I have come up with. The last option is other. If it is other, please let me know what that is.










J) OTHER_____________________

 I would appreciate your comments and I also want to let you know that Series II will ask the same question to guys so you should tune in.