Cairo Association of Teachers - Newsletter



CAT Tracks for January 17, 2005
MLK JR DAY IN CARBONDALE

The following article appeared in today's Southern Illinoisan. The guest speaker put the "Dream" squarely on the shoulders of parents...


LIVING THE DREAM: IN CELEBRATION OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT SAYS PARENTS NEED TO LEAD CHILDREN

BY NICOLE SACK
THE SOUTHERN

CARBONDALE --To look around the Carbondale Civic Center on Sunday night, it would appear the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. has become a tangible reality.

People of all colors and ages sitting, singing, praying and listening together to honor one of the nation's most influential citizens. Whether King is viewed as a civil rights leader, a champion of the poor, a man of God or an epitome of courage, his birthday has become a rallying point for hope of the future.

But what is being done to insure the dream of King will be realized in the lives of future generations? The answer is to do more than dream, we must also do something said Elizabeth Lewin, keynote speaker of the sixth annual Carbondale Community Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewin called for a plan.

"It is time for us to gather our resources, time for us to plan for everyone of our children to succeed," Lewin said.

As superintendent of Carbondale Elementary School District 95, Lewin knows the children of Carbondale. And sometimes, she said, children are not getting the correct education from their most important teachers -- their parents.

"Our children only learn what they see," Lewin said. "Their first teachers are the parents."

Lewin said the person she became is because of the parents she had.

Her parents were not rich, but they valued education highly in and out of school. Whether it was through the quiet artistry of her mother or the courage she saw in her father, or the unrelenting work of her family -- those were the lessons that formed a solid foundation for everything else in her life.

"I learned that you always confront any obstacle or threat," Lewin said, "you face it with dignity and trust." Lewin said it is time for Carbondale to nurture the very basics of its children so possibilities are endless.

"Things sometimes appear to be monumental and children say they 'can't do it,'" Lewin said. "Too often parents say 'that's okay,' when they should say I trust, I know you can, I have faith that you can do anything."

King took on the challenges of the civil rights movement, something Lewin admires.

"He accepted the role of leadership in one of the most turbulent times in our history," she said.

Three Carbondale citizens were also honored with the Spirit of Dr. King Community Service Award.

Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole presented Linda Flowers, principal of Thomas Elementary School and 2004 NAACP honoree, with the first award.

The second award was presented to Corene and Milton McDaniel for the example they set as couple in Carbondale.

"This is definitely an honor," Milton McDaniel said. "We cannot accept it for ourselves, but for the community in which we live."

The McDaniels said they will hang their award in the Eurma C. Hayes Center.

nicole.sack@thesouthern.com