South Huntington’s Parent University “Graduates”
The first class from South Huntington’s Parent University “graduated” Friday night, and the community couldn’t have been prouder. It was a great opportunity to sharpen the skills we all need to have in order to take on life’s most important and demanding pursuit: raising successful children.
Dr. Pedro Noguera, the evening keynote speaker and a nationally renowned expert on building partnerships between schools and the parents and communities they serve, started things off on the right note. A professor at NYU, Dr. Noguera told the packed audience at Walt Whitman’s Performing Arts Center that the most challenging and difficult thing he does is to parent. “As parents, we can only hope that we have laid a foundation that will allow us to continue to influence our children when they are not with us,” he said. “That way they will be able to make good decisions, exercise good judgment, apply themselves, and grow up to be healthy, productive people.”
Parents chose from a wide variety of workshops, from “Raising a Thinking Child” to “Financial Literacy” to “Bullying and the Special Needs Child.” Attendees also enjoyed a meal break catered by Whitman Delicatessen, sponsored by State Farm Insurance and staffed by volunteers from Air Techniques.
“I was most impressed by the number of parents who chose to spend a Friday evening partnering with us to improve their skills,” said Ms. Jacqueline Harris, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. “I was also impressed with the number of staff members who volunteered their time. We all felt that we were working together to do something very special for our school community.” Ms. Harris added, “The support of our sponsors and vendors was tremendous. From the T-shirts and food to their presentations and giveaways, they covered the costs for this whole program and were there, excited to be a part of our team.”
Several workshops utilized new technologies, and many of the evening’s events had their audio and visual technological components staffed by experts from Teq, the nation’s largest provider of interactive classroom technology and support services. Even the childcare featured Smartboard technologies that entertained the youngsters while their parents attended workshops. The south gymnasium also featured a vendor gallery of regional and local companies and organizations, who all supported South Huntington’s Parent University theme ‘Partners Shaping Children’s Lives.’ “Our goal was to strengthen the partnership with our parent community while providing resources and information that would help them,” said Ms. Harris. “We achieved our goal and much more. Next year, we’ll try to surpass what we did this year.”
Story & Photos by Steve Bartholomew
Photo #1: Left to right: Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Shea, Keynote speaker Dr. Pedro Noguera, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Ms. Jacqueline Harris, and Dr. Adeyemi Stembridge – Project Associate, at NYU Steinhardt.
Photo#2: Student volunteers left to right: Roudjeri Napoleon, Kolawole ‘KB’ Bamgbelu, Claude Cajuste, Ja Darius Moore, and Berthin Lindor help with food and drinks.