Int’l Educators Hall of Fame Dreams Big for the Kids
By Dianne Anderson
Decades of dedication have not gone unnoticed for teachers that will be honored for their hard work at this year’s annual International Educators’ Hall of Fame Community Dreamer Award.
This year, the event pays tribute to 22 outstanding inductees from six different countries.
Many of the trailblazers are long retired, but they continue to give back to students and the community.
Dr. Patricia Adelekan said she started the annual event 27 years ago as a way to reward teachers that give big of themselves, but they are rarely respected for what they bring to society.
“Society expects educators to give and give, but we don’t pay them that much,” she said. “The people that they train, the athletes and entertainers get more in a year than teachers get in a lifetime.”
Under the “Dream Big” theme, the event features an impressive breakout of doctorates, scholars, and youth performers from Orange County, as well as international schools. The event will be held via Zoom on Sunday, December 27, and starts at 2:00 p.m.
Dr. Adelekan said one of their honorees, Lee Cheery shares his reason for starting the African Society Scientific Institute because he never saw Black engineers or scientists as a child. Katherine G. Johnson, the NASA scientist that helped get America to the moon, was also an ASI Fellow.
“Lee wanted to help other kids follow their dreams,” she said. “Now he has 2,000 fellows all over the world from the African diaspora. Most of his people are Harvard and Yale.”
His wife, Lauren Cheery, is also recognized for her role as principal in revitalizing an elementary school in Oakland. She is the current National Secretary/Treasurer of the American Federation of School Administrators.
Among the many other accomplished honorees: Anaheim City Councilman Dr. Jose Moreno. David Vazquez Hernandez, who was instrumental in helping establish “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Anaheim. Debbie Schroeder, Ed.D, founder of Anaheim’s GOALS Academy, now Vibrant Minds Charter School. Kenneth Wilson, Colorado State University with the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. Mrs. Gwendolyn Spencer Lovelace and former leader of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Brenda Pettis for A.I.M. for Christ (Arts in Ministry).
Adelekan, who speaks five languages, holds her doctorate in education evaluation and research, a branch of education that develops intelligence tests and curriculum.
Over the decades, she has also served as a teacher and teacher trainer at numerous colleges, including former university faculty at USC Rossier School of Education, Cerritos College, Sierra College, Compton Community College, Long Beach Community College, as well as international institutions.
This year, she is excited to pay tribute to the namesake for their event theme, a two-time gold medalist Ruthie Bolton, who played in the Women’s National Basketball Association with the Sacramento Monarchs ending 2004. Bolton is also debuting her piece, which she calls “Dream Big.”
Bolton is an advocate and domestic violence survivor.
“She speaks about how when she was young she couldn’t do a lot of things, but now she talks about learning, and how to turn pain into power. She tells everybody don’t give up your dreams because dreams come true,” Adelekan said.
Adelekan, who continues her Youth on the Move and NEEP mentoring and tutoring via Zoom is asking parents to join in programming with the kids.
“They wait until May and then parents are begging for tutoring,” she said. “Taking care of kids is a daily thing. At NEEP, we encourage parents to come in [to Zoom] with the kids.”
Most of all, she wants parents to know how their kids become smart. Research shows that reading out loud helps, along with lots of hugs.
“If you have a family that doesn’t hug the child or touch the child, that child’s brain is not going to be stimulated. Hugging, reading to the child, those things stimulate the brain,” she said.
But she also knows that teacher attitude plays a significant role in how students respond to education. If a teacher, for example, ignores a child for even a few days, the child can shut down from learning.
“We want to get rid of racism, separatism, or prejudices, it cuts across especially in education because the classroom motivates students to move forward or it stagnates a child to stop. And the teacher doesn’t have to say it, they can just behave it.”
Most students that Adelekan has served, or has taught teachers to serve, are facing poverty or may have learning obstacles. For any number of reasons, she said educators can mistakenly believe that some children are unable to learn.
“If society doesn’t train itself in meeting the child’s need, and zeroing in on what the child needs, we’re going to lose them. Just because they say the child [has impediments] doesn’t mean the child isn’t brilliant. We feel every child has something,” she said.
To register for the event, or learn more about tutoring programs,
contact Dr. Patricia Adelekan at 714-628-9844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org