Role models of the right kind

November 18, 2013 

This letter is written to applaud planners of the recent program at which prominent Americans who are former East St. Louis students came back to school to speak with current students.

There was a difference this time. Program sponsors did not put forth celebrity athletes and entertainers as has happened all too often in the past. The sponsors put forth prominent former East St. Louis students as panelists who excel in government, law, business, the justice system, medicine and science. Lo and behold, the BND followed suit with generous coverage of the event in its Oct. 31 edition. Thank you, program planners and thank you, BND. I was not reared or schooled in East St. Louis, but I have proudly lived and worked in East St. Louis most of my adult life.

As a 20-year-old rookie teacher fresh out of the University of Illinois, I was former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden's sixth-grade teacher at Johnson School in East St. Louis School District 189. Bolden was an 11-year-old academically gifted student. He was one of the panelists at the East St. Louis Senior High School "Prominent Americans Workshop."

While I was not a teacher of the other panelists, I know them to be excellent role models for the students. The other panelists included: retired Judge Milton Wharton, businesswomen Bernadette Officer and Gloria Bozeman Herndon, medical Dr. Wesley McNeese and physicist Larry Gladney.

Katie H. Wright

East St. Louis

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