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Scenes from Savannah: Back to School, Day Two

Educators and students go together like peas and carrots and classrooms are "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get."

With fitting references to the famous Forrest Gump film referencing its location not far from the film's famous bus bench, the second day of President Eskelsen-García's back-to-school tour in Savannah, Georgia began with an interview on national radio and a visit to a local elementary school.

The school, Hodge Elementary School, is an Opportunity School District school, which means the school is at risk of being taken over by the governor. None of that mattered to the students of first-grade teacher Bynikini Frazier, who welcomed Eskelsen García with a rousing “Hip Hop Hooray!” and pointed to Ms. Frazier when asked who was the best teacher in the world."

Frazier, a former Teacher of the Year, was a former student of the school. “I sat right here as a student just like you and I came back to be a teacher,” said Frazier to the students.” I would be honored if you came back to be a teacher with me, but whatever you do, I know you’re going to be extraordinary, and you’re going to go to…”

“College!” yelled the students.

“I love coming to school because we learn…because we read…because we have math tests…because it was so much fun.” said the students.

When asked why they loved coming to school, the students answered "I love coming to school because we learn because we read because we have math testsbecause it is so much fun," said the students.

From Savannah, the tour moved to Hubert Middle School, where President García visited with Chatham Association of Educators President Mary Snowden and toured the Paragon Academy for Males. The Academy takes 100 at-risk male students and mentors them with hopes of turning them into productive citizens. The academy core values include academic excellence, leadership, and community service.

What did the students like best about the program? "I like that they teach us to be young men and gentlemen, said one student, They also give us lots of hard work." What do the students need most? "Technology and more tutorial programs."

President García then moved from middle school students to college students, with a meeting with the Savannah State University Student Georgia Association of Educators program. President García gave advice to the future educators and discussed opportunity gaps.

"We see the public school house door as the gateway of that childs future. Public schools werent always the gateway for every child It was in my lifetime that I remember segregated schools. It was in my lifetime that schools were part of the program of institutional racism, but we have come a long way, and we still have a ways to go."

President García ended the tour mingling with parents, children, school board members, and local leaders. The community presented her with a photo of the school she attended and sent her off with memories of a caring community.

See more NEA Back to School Tour 2015 Highlights

2015 Back to School Tour Visits Georgia

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