The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. Delta Rho Chapter of San Bernardino met Saturday for their 6th Annual Educators Prayer Breakfast in the Renaissance Room at the National Orange Show Grounds. Their theme was “It’s a Gift… “Teach Them and Teach Them Well” and I must say this group of educators did just that.
While I do not go out as much as I used to, I made and extra effort this time because my wife was asked to be the keynote speaker and my very good friend Dr. E. Neal Roberts was being honored. I also knew there would be a room full of great people in education that I have known for decades.
I was not disappointed. Cheryl spoke about the good work of teachers and others who work in education. Of course she highlighted the impact teachers and other education professionals have had on our children here in the San Bernardino City Unified School District as well as the success they now enjoy as they work in the community.
The honorees were community leaders whose work extends beyond the confines of the classroom: Faye Coates, Dr. Milton Clark and Dr. Roberts. Each of them were given a few minutes to speak, and during his remarks Neal gave us a history lesson recounting his journey as a White teacher from Utah eventually rising to the position as superintendent of California’s 7th largest urban school district.
He shared of his experience of receiving an invitation for lunch at our home in the 70’s when he was a teacher. Cheryl made it a standard practice to invite our children’s’ teachers to our home for lunch. We believed parents and teachers were partners in the education process. According to Neal, that lunch led to him being promoted to principal, and eventually to heading the district’s effort to dismantle defacto segregation. He thanked Cheryl for inviting him to lunch decades ago and credited that friendship over the years to his understanding of racial issues in our community and how to work with people of different backgrounds and races.
The Delta membership is full of friends: Linda Bardere, Ira Gray, Gigi Jackson Cooper, Harriet Moore, Joyce Payne, Joyce Smith, Elaine Wilson and Katherine Wilson, women I have known and respected for a long time. It was also great seeing longtime friends Dr. Margaret Hill and Dr. Herb Fischer.
Teaching is a gift…and in my opinion they do it well.