“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward. Intake and Assessment specialist JoAnn McKinney shared Ward’s words this past Tuesday evening at GHCC’s Adult Learning Center’s (ALC) 24th Annual Achievement Event, which celebrates the accomplishments of learners enrolled in ALC classes. More than 100 community members, ALC supporters, volunteers, and learners attended the event, which was hosted at the Second Presbyterian Church’s Smith Hall.
ALC director Garland Thomas kicked off the evening by highlighting some of the great accomplishments the center has made this year: including a dozen new GED graduates, 2 ESOL graduates who have moved on the Baltimore City Community College, as well as more than 50 adults enrolled in the ALC’s workforce development program.
As the guests settled in to their dinner, compliments of Yum’s Asian Bistro, assistant director Teddy Edouard began a series of recognitions by honoring Julie Ritchick as the ESOL teacher of the year. The evening featured a host of honors and acknowledgments including Learner Programs Coordinator Kimi Lillig’s recognition of Zachary Bass as the volunteer of the year. In speaking of Bass’ contributions Kimi noted that “…As our Computers I and now Computers II instructor, he patiently instructs and guides our learners to understand and use the computer in their daily lives. He goes beyond simple explanation and ensures the learners in his class feel empowered and comfortable to solve their own technology issues. … [and] . It’s that kind of dedication and care that I want to recognize and commend.”
For all those who attended, keynote speaker; the actress, dancer, teacher, and story teller Maria Broom, (best known for her roles in HBO’s The Wire and The Corner) was a true highlight. Framing her congratulations and support of ALC learners in the context of her own life, Ms. Broom weaved together a tale success and a message of persistence and dedication that undoubtedly inspired all who were present. “Do what you love” she repeated as she applauded the accomplishments of the ALC’s learners and reminded us all that happiness is the greatest achievement worth pursuing. By the end of her talk Ms. Broom had the entire room on their feet, dancing along with her, in celebration of themselves and in acknowledgment of the power and wisdom that every person posses.
Following the keynote address, ALC staff continued to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of learners in the New Citizens, ESOL, and ABE programs. Of special note on the evening however, was Community Workforce director Chris Wilson’s recognition of one of GHCC’s first workforce connections graduates Kirk Bumbrey. Kirk, who Chris praised for his diligence and commitment to finding work, successfully completed the workforce training program last year and is now gainfully employed with White Cap construction.
The entire evening was a huge success. Though special recognition was given to some outstanding learners, volunteers, and teachers, as director Garland Thomas reminded us in closing, it was a night to honor the accomplishments and dedication of all those at the ALC. For the staff and volunteers it was a thank you, and for the more than 500 ALC learners across the city it was a testament to their dedication and in turn an inspiration for us all.