The success of America's public schools should be celebrated, and their supporters should join together to make sure those schools are successful, two national educators said Friday.
Dr. Lois Harrison-Jones, president-elect of the National Alliance of Black Educators, and Dr. Gwendolyn Morrison, president of the alliance's National Affiliate Council, said their organization seeks to promote the education of all students, especially African-Americans.
They were honored at a reception at the Harry F. Abate Elementary School, given by the local affiliate of the alliance, the Niagara Alliance of Black School Educators.
Dr. Harrison-Jones, former school superintendent in Boston and Richmond, Va., said educating children can be difficult.
"I wish I could say teaching and leadership are easy these days. All the serious issues of society are brought to the school house," she said, citing issues such as teen pregnancy, violence and hunger. "The task is quite great."
She lauded the accomplishments being celebrated at the awards ceremony for the district's ninth annual mini-academic Olympics, sponsored by the Niagara Alliance.
"What you've done right here is one of the most exciting things," she said. "You've recognized for nine years that academic accomplishment is a goal and a priority."
Niagara Falls School Superintendent Carmen Granto said the district was fortunate to be involved with the alliance.
"We're thrilled," he said. "It makes us stronger, and it makes us better to recognize the alliance and be a little part of it."
"We don't have bad kids here," he added. "All our kids are wonderful."
Granto congratulated the Niagara Alliance, especially Dr. Gloria A. Kimbrough, who formed the local chapter nine years ago.
"She's been the heart and soul behind the chapter here in Niagara Falls," he said. "It's a tremendous chapter. We revel in our diversity."
Granto was presented a Foundation Medallion by the group as part of Friday's celebration.
Dr. Morrison, administrator in charge of research and evaluation for the Fort Worth School District, said her goal as president of the National Affiliate Council is to increase membership to 20,000 by the year 2000. The organization currently has 5,000 members nationwide.
"I want to say to each of you, you can make a difference," she said. "Go forward with that energy."
She said today's teachers are part of something bigger than themselves. "Those of you who have chosen to teach are part of something very special," she said.