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Jul 23 2013

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Education is key: Black and Gold Banquet stresses education, community development.

pete and glenda lamothe

Project Linus (Carole McKinney) Picsite

When Mu Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity recently held its annual Black and Gold banquet, there was no gainsaying that the evening will stress education and excellence.

Chapter President Pete Lamothe gave a brief history of the Fraternity, the Chapter while thanking supporters and attendees. He told the audience what they should expect for the grand evening. ShaiRee Peoples, Miss Black and Gold 2013 who is headed to college in the Fall semester shed light on standardized testing.

According to Peoples, standardized testing negatively affects youth and makes it hard for teachers to be creative nor go into depth because they are teaching for the test.

“Not all students are able to pass the test because they are nervous however, it brings structure to our learning.”

In addition, Calvin Brookins an Alpha for 44 years thanked the audience for their support. He also explained that all the funds go towards scholarships consequently, more people should buy tickets and attend next year. The keynote speaker Dr. Kenneth Martin, president of Navarro College, Ellis County campuses gave a brief background of himself paving the way for his speech. Martin was raised in South Dallas, a crime ridden neighborhood but he defied the odds. His parents did not attend college. His father was a maintenance man and his mother was a maid.

According to Martin, education was the pathway to his success. As a young man, he often asked himself how he can accomplish something for his parents, himself and his community. He told the audience to make no mistakes, home support is crucial for success.

He praised his parents who were his number one cheerleaders. He is saddened that both died of cancer. He urged the audience to read and get engaged in the conversation of educating African American youth especially the young men. Martin asked the audience of carefully read Dr. Shaun Harper’s research work. Harper is currently an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. His work can be found by just googling his name on the internet. Some of Harper’s findings include, black young men take fewer notes in class, spend less time studying, have lowest high school completion rates across all cultures and are less prepared to go to college among other challenges.

Martin acknowledged the challenge is steep but can be overcome. He gave the example of David and Goliath in the Bible. He asked the audience to imagine all the naysayers on the day David fought Goliath.

“David prepared, had courage, faith and had put things into proper perspective,” Martin said. “We should plan and fight more effectively. We should ask ourselves, do we run from community actions or do we set examples for the next generation?” Furthermore, he outlined what each person in the audience can do like encourage students to go to college or beyond high school, encourage girls to study science, know the SAT and ACT scores for college entrance, know about dual credit, unemployment rates, financial aid new policies; offer scholarships to median range students, invite high school students to board meetings, expose students to the world at large, invite students to hear a great speech, talk to Representatives and Senators, engage in financial education, teach young men how to treat ladies, do not be afraid to call for change, be a good role model, know your history of successful people and tell it to the young people, and challenge the Goliath if needed. For the churches, he said each one should strive to give scholarships.

“You cannot afford to sit back and wait for change to happen,” Martin said. The program also included honoring Vernessa Gentry Longview ISD retired principal of Bramlette Elementary school with a Community Achievement Award for 32 years of outstanding service as an educator.

The Mu Rho Lambda Chapter lives up to their commitment of service to the community. Some of their work include: Coats for Kids, the March of Dimes, MLK Celebration and Parade, Thanksgiving Food Drive and Habitat for Humanity to mention a few.

Story and photos by Joycelyne Fadojutimi

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