Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET
We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.
Editor's note: Education is 'Key' and Dr. Victor Keys along with other volunteers are confronting America's education problem, head on. They are going door to door in inner-city Houston, trying to convince dropouts to come back to school. He shares his story with us:
Dr. Victor Keys
When I look at my daughter Mariesha, who was born at 1 pound and 11 ounces, and I think about my better half Maresa, and doing God’s will; I know that I am blessed beyond measure. In a recent job interview, I was asked where did I see myself in the next 5 years. My answer was that I saw myself helping people achieve their dreams.
This is my mission in life, my passion- as an educator who has not missed a day of work in over 20 years. I would do it free of charge. I have been truly blessed and I am so thankful that I believe wholeheartedly in the saying “for those in which much is given much is required”.
Education is not only the key for our students to become successful, it is the key for our nation, our world, and it is the main ingredient for success in a global economy. Additionally, we must involve our communities, our leaders, businesses and corporations in this endeavor. We all are stakeholders. We can make it happen. It goes back to the “village adage,” and it does take a whole village to raise and educate a child.
We must mentor and guide our students as the following individuals mentored me: Mr. Bell, Ms. Thornton, Ms. Tobola, Ms. Rios, Ms. Faye Wells, and the “dean of all principals” Mr. F.D. Wesley. These prominent educators and administrators taught me the value of being a caring and nurturing school administrator. Not only did they believe in providing students with high quality teachers, the best curriculum, and beautiful facilities; they also believed in implementing flexible schedules, before, during, and after-school programs that helped our students to be successful. They were mentors that allowed me an opportunity to grow and develop into an experienced administrator.
We must also befriend our students. In doing so we are able to discover who they are, determine their needs and assist them in securing those necessities. As a friend, you don’t mind inquiring about their whereabouts.
At Booker T. Washington High School and the High School for the Engineering Professions in Houston, Texas, we did whatever it took to assist our students. I spent many evenings going to homes, courthouses, and jails looking for our students. I was in charge of the entire recovery of dropouts operation for over five years and each year we made an impact in the dropout rate of our school. We provided our students with day-care and built a welcoming, nurturing and therapeutic environment. In doing so, we are able to help our students work their way out of crisis situations and become productive citizens.
I must give credit to God for allowing me to do his work, as we attempt to save our children, and provide them with a good education. In order to help our students and to keep them from dropping out, we must provide them with a solid foundation. We, as parents and family members, must nurture and love our students just as my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings love me.
Update: Dr. Key's e-mailed us this morning to let us know he continues to push for progress. "Even today, early this morning, I spoke with a young man about his future... promise is in store! "
Filed under: Black in America
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with