Back To School Days

Happy Hump Day, All!

Yes, we’ve arrived at the middle of another week, the half-way mark, aka “hump day”! Other than Chad Johnson (aka Ocho Cinco), originally from Florida, I haven’t heard any serious horror stories lately, and, while grave, his wasn’t so bad. According to the news sources and police in Davie, FL (and a neighbor), Chad, who was in position to play for the Miami Dolphins this season, had a disagreement with his wife over a receipt apparently for condoms that she found in the trunk of his car while removing groceries. Has that ever happened to you? Me neither … especially after 6 weeks of marriage to a rather gorgeous reality show star. There was to be a television series on VH1, I believe, focusing on the couple. So, he lost a job with the Dolphins, a starring role in a reality tv show, and … perhaps a wife, with one stupid head butt! It’s the kind of thing that makes one go “hmmmm…..”!

Well, this past weekend, I had the pleasure of doing a “Back to School” presentation with my friend Marie Achille and H.E.R.O. (Humanitarian Emergency Resource Organization) in nearby Oakland Park, FL. Marie is a good friend, community organizer and super person whom I worked with at ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) several years ago before funding was withdrawn by many organizations and a lot of legal red tape was unraveling around the group during and after the Obama Presidential campaign for 2008. The weather was a bit cloudy Saturday and just as the festivities were about to begin at 2:30pm, it started raining. So, being fast on our feet, and grateful for a facility to utilize indoors, (since we had a tent set up outside and lots of chairs, tables and decorations) we moved the large crowd of approximately 100 people inside.

As Ms. Patterson of the Urban League of Broward County introduced herself and discussed the new ULBC facility on Sistrunk Blvd. in the new Downtown District of the FTL, I prepared for my presentation. The Urban League does great work here in Broward County, and, if anyone remembers, was responsible for me getting my start in White Plains, NY not only with employment as a teen, but the contacts to attend St. Paul’s School back in 1969 in lieu of going to White Plains High School. My presentation was “from the heart” as I tried to hammer home the need to “Stop the Violence” in school, the urgency of taking advantage of a FREE education while young and the concept of embracing diversity. The kids, including myself, the parents and the executive board of H.E.R.O. were there to participate in the festivities. We had a ball with my interactive style of motivational speaking.

Shortly after I finished, the rain stopped and we were fortunate enough to have the office, which was flooded with people, emptied and the activity was moved outside. Food was served to everyone and there was a tremendous crowd which had swelled to probably two hundred people! There were not enough book bags and supplies to go around, since many parents had more than one child. Yet, I believe it was a worthwhile event by a wonderful community organization and an important message.

So, as some of you may be preparing for back to school shopping and excitement while the rest of us may be getting ready for traffic to swell starting Monday here in SoFlo, may we encourage the kids to take advantage of the “best things in life” that are free – public education, parents and Our Creator!


John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence
ps. – If anyone has knowledge or access here in FTL for additional book bags, please let me know as I have two low income single mothers with 4 children who contacted me because they did not get book bags. I will connect you with them, if necessary!

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