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July 25th, 2012

Congratulations to Coach Burks and NFA track team

Lillie Howard
All too often we read about so much negativity as it pertains to our youth of color. However, this time the headline reads “All eleven of the NFA Track Team’s seniors heading off to college!” Wow! Coach Burks needs to be congratulated for his dedication to his track team, but even more so for his dedication to their futures. As Malcolm X so aptly put it: “Education is one’s passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today!”

Coach Burks understands this very clearly, and I believe this is the major reason why, for the past 14 years, 98% of his graduating seniors have gone on to college. Why has there been so much silence about this? Why hasn’t our community given Coach Burks his accolades? If they have, I’m not aware of it.

Education enables one to become economically independent, which leads to a strong community. The high dropout rates within our school system should be one of major concern. Why? Because most of the youths that are dropping out are going to, more than likely, end up in the prison system. Therefore, more people like Coach Burks should be recruited and hired within our school system. If not, why not?

The late, great tennis player Arthur Ashe told us that “We look for leadership in men and women of such youth and inexperience, as well as poverty of education and character, that it is no wonder that we sometimes seem rudderless. We see basketball players and pop singers as possible role models, when nothing could be further, in most cases, from their capacities.” Education is the real key!

Thanks to Coach Burks for realizing that education is the real key and instilling this in the minds of his track teams. Our community could use more role models like Coach Burks within our school system who identifies with the major needs of the students, which are education, leadership and a good quality of life. These are the basics which will enable them to become productive citizens.

Looking at the statistics of African American males on college campuses, these young men are to be commended for the focus, dedication and hard work which has enabled them to accomplish this level of success in their lives. With this level of dedication, I believe that they will go on to accomplish great things.

Once again, Congratulations to Coach Burks, and all eleven of the track team seniors: Noel Alexander, Shaquille Wimberly, Isaiah Valentine, Xaiver  McAllister, Terrel Moore, Michael Garrick, Kyle Farrington, Michael Corlette, Faheem Hayden, Anthony Francis, Conroy Fletcher.
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