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Applied education transcends the politics of political rhetoric

Derek Joy

Derek Joy

Applied education transcends the politics of political rhetoric

By Derek Joy

     Right on the cusp of winter’s onset signaling time to celebrate the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa Holidays.

And so it is, much attention has been focused on the sporting world – especially on high school football.

Big news, it was. American Heritage and St. Thomas Aquinas won their second consecutive Florida State High School Football Championships to make Broward County proud.

Equally proud is Miami Dade County Booker T. Washington and Miami Central won their third consecutive state championships on four straight trips to the state finals.

That’s very good for South Florida.  Let the pork choppers and other parts of Florida know we exist down here in the geographic bottom.

There is another story here. One that cannot be overlooked.

Interestingly enough, Central and Booker T., surpassed the two consecutive championships won by Miami Northwestern one its glory eras.  Rockets Coach Roland Smith won one of those championships with the Bulls.  Booker T’s Principal William Aristide is the younger brother – by one year – of Bulls Principal Wallace Aristide.

William Aristide can tout his championships. Wallace Aristide has a different kind of championship to tout.  He was honored in November with the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award by the Council For Educational Change. One of three Gold Medallion winners.

The honor brought a total of $10,000 to Aristide – $5,000 for being one of the winners and an additional $5,000 for being the recipient of the Principal Leadership Award.

Aristide was recognized for his efforts in transforming a perennially failing school to an “A” school, increasing the graduation rate from 55 percent to 82 percent, increasing the number of Advance Placement classes, and adding dual enrollment.

He also created “The Educational Effect,” the first university-community school project in Miami Dade County. Just the kind of academic success achieved through education applied to practical situations.

Consequently, Aristide received a long overdue honor.  Sure, he appreciates athletics and likes to see his charges win there, too.  He, like his brother William, was educated at Bethune Cookman University on football scholarships after solid high school careers as student athletes at Archbishop Curley High School.

Wallace Aristide even had coaching stints at Miami Central and Norland High Schools before his career in administration.  The recognition finally came.  Academics.  The primary area of focus in the education arena.

Documented success in academics has a value beyond the politics of political rhetoric.  Aristide demonstrated no less.  The awards confirm as much.  And the outside world should recognize that, too.

Yes, the dynamics of athletic championships is important, financially reward and motivational.  So, too, is the immeasurable value of education.


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