Remember Them Well…

My Grandparents

My grandmother could never have imagined her husband and 9 yr. old son would be killed in a car accident.  Gladston Taylor’s profile pic triggered the memory for me with the caption, “Never Forget.”  They were born in the 20s, so they were well acquainted with what we now highlight today as a poignant part of our culture.  In Dr. King’s honor, we’ve celebrated countless efforts, initiatives, resistances, and sacrifices today of those who preceded us, many of whom are no longer here.  That for me, included my grandmother.  We lost her to Alzheimer’s and Cancer in 2012.

But as I reflect on what my grandparents did for me, and so many others grandparents, and those who maybe  never had children of their own, I want to make sure that I remember them well.  I want to honor them by explaining the difficult parts of our life to my children and showing them why they are so blessed.  I want to esteem them by teaching my students about the rights they strived for so children can enjoy the privileges they now have in the classroom.  I want to immortalize them – in social media – by inscribing my gratitude to be shared with others – because I am indebted to them for their selfless acts.

I love to listen to those who lived in the era so tumultuous and unknown, amazed at their resolve.  Each individual experience has its own merit, ripe with pain and pride.  We fuse so much into one day of celebration, we sometimes forget, there are enough stories and insights to last a lifetime.  No one documentary can ever have the impact of our shared experiences, relived and retold.  Let’s not miss a single account.  Listen, live, and learn.  Remembering our past.  Restoring our present.  Rebuilding for the future.  #iwillnotforget

Grandparents:  Lucille Walker Harris & Bennie Harris, Sr.


Martin, Magic, and Me

MLK Contest

Has your passion ever snuck onto your pathway when you didn’t even notice?  Long before I was a teacher, I was a Public Speaking Coach.  Reminiscing on Willowridge High School’s Forensic Club led me to my strong convictions on the importance of well written (and well spoken) words.  That later paved the way for my transition into education.

Today, I’m feeling the excitement that peaks every year at this time.  For the last 8 years, I’ve had the privilege of coaching students to compete in the annual MLK Oratory Competition sponsored by the Gardere Law Firm.  Nearly 250-300 students enter every year.  I’m privileged to say that each of mine has always made it to the Top 12 Finalists, this year included.  Many of my students went on to be on Fox 26, WB 39, KHOU 11, radio shows, and graced many programs and special events.  I felt so proud!

My own coach from Willowridge, Nancy Limberger, changed my life.  The skills I learned in her classroom, during and after school, were the fodder for many of my biggest achievements as an adult.  I was baffled when I coached elementary students in University of Houston Tournaments just like the ones I participated in 15 years ago myself! It was an honor to experience it on the other end.

When I work with students and watch their transformation from coy to confident, I feel the fervor of their journey; but, my excitement isn’t limited to watching them grow – it’s heightened because I’m doing something that I love.  Pursuing our passions – delving into the things that come most natural – yields a magic that is often inexplicable.  Speaking…writing…painting with words?  That’s what gets me excited.  How about you?

Attached is a link from my first place winner a few years ago, Gerra Gistand, whose soaring to the heavens as she finds her own magic.  Prepare to be wowed…  (You’ll see me jumping up and down at the end of this clip in a yellow blouse!)  I’m so excited for all twelve of today’s contestants.  Experience it yourself today at the historical African American Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Downtown Houston at 500 Clay.  You’ll never forget it…Martin would be proud…see you there. #pursueyourpassion

(Pic above – Samaya Watson, Former Finalist and 3rd Place Winner)