“Up in the morning and out to school, the teacher is teaching the golden rule; American History and Practical Math, you studying hard and hoping to pass. Working your fingers right down to the bone, the guy behind you won’t leave you alone. Ring, ring goes the bell, the cooks in the lunch room ready to sell. You luck if you can find a seat, you’re fortunate if you have time to eat. Back into the classroom open your books, even the teacher don’t know how mean she looks.”
These were part of the words to a song written by rock & roll legend Chuck Berry back in the late fifties.
It has been some time since I had the back to school blues, but a few weeks ago I was invited to come down to opening day at Hardy Brown College Prep (HBCP) to greet the returning kids as well as my great grand daughter Jadin Lee, who was beginning her first day. It did bring back memories as I saw kids, parents, and teachers eager to return to learning. I heard from one parent who said she gets up at 4am in the morning, catch a public bus and ride from Pomona to San Bernardino so her child could get a good education at HBCP. That sounds like a lot of students I knew back home who had to ride the school bus because they lived on farms a great distance from the school that was across the street from my house. Boy, I said to myself, this parent and others I met had one thing on their mind and that was to give their child the best opportunity to succeed in life by being involved in the education of their children. Who says parents don’t care; these parents do.
Then I went into the classroom of Mrs. Harrison-Compton, one of the most exciting and energized teachers I have ever seen. It was a surprise visit so when she and the kids saw me they greeted me with all smiles and immediately wanted to show me what they were doing. Their energy gave me energy as they called out my name. Ms. Harrison-Compton gets her students to write me during the year and tell me what they are learning as well as ask how am I doing. I also heard her children scored very high last year as did all of the students at HBCP.
I shook hands and greeted a lot of parents and students on that day as they returned to school. I want to take this time to welcome all parents, students, and staff back to another year of school in the Inland Empire. My wife told me she saw community activist, Dorothy Grant of Fontana last week and Dorothy is at the school named in her honor everyday encouraging students to stay in school. When grand-moms and grand-dads stay involved with the family and education like Dorothy Grant does, students do better.
Let me add that no matter how bad the picture looks when it comes to school data there are a lot of good things going on as well. When you meet a teacher like Mrs. Harrison-Compton, a principal like Ms. Lundy and parents that are willing to board a bus at 4 am in the morning to take their child to school, good school days are here again.
Chuck Berry’s last verse was; “Soon as three o’clock rolls around you finally lay your burden down. Close up your books, get out of your seat, down the hall and into the streets”. That was wishful thinking then as well as now. For some, this was the way things were, but for most it was home on the farm doing chores before night fall and then get your homework done. For the students at HBCP for example, you don’t get out of school until after four and school is not a burden.
So to all those who care about education I say welcome back to another year of good old school days as we prepare for tomorrow.