Good morning, I have the pleasure of
joining in a special salute to Melissa Verguez, whose
principal describes her as diligent, dedicated and artistic.
Melissa is a student who is focused and who impresses
her teachers and administrators. Her sponsoring teacher
praises her intelligence and the outstanding quality of
her work. He applauds Melissa's efforts to achieve as
a graphic artist and details the contributions she has
made to numerous class projects.
Melissa created all of the major graphics for a multimedia
textbook entitled, Slavery in the Western Hemisphere:
British America and the United States. In addition, Melissa
played a key role in the publication of an article on
African-American History through the Arts. Both projects
are available on the Internet for students throughout
the world to share.
Clearly, Melissa is a deserving applicant. She is already
using technology as a tool in her studies. It is with
great pleasure that I present the Ana Gutierrez Mackay
Technology Scholarship to Melisa Virguez. Let us all join
together in a special salute for Melissa Virguez.
Words of welcome
Good morning again! Thank your for providing me a space
in the program to offer a few words of welcome on behalf
of the Miami-Dade County School Board, Dr. Solomon Stinson,
Chair, on this second day of the 1999 Instructional Technology
Conference of Miami Dade county Public Schools. "Isn't
it strange, that Kings and Queens and clowns that caper
in sawdust rings, and common people like you and me are
builders of eternity. Each is given a bag of tools, a
shapeless mass and a book of rules and each must build
on life is flown a stumbling block or a stepping stone."
This fantastic conference is filled with people who are
building "stepping stones," people who are committed
to using technology to power student achievement and streamline
Many of you had the opportunity to attend a few of the
sessions yesterday as well as witness the latest technology
that is on the market today.
I must confess that I have been reminiscing about the
past and the way technology is revolutionizing the way
we will teach in the future.
When I reflect on the past, I'm reminded that this country
has a history of technological advance. We were the first
to fly an airplane, the first to land on the moon, and
the first to send a space probe to Neptune & beyond.
I'm also reminded, as Chris Master noted, of the cynics.
When I think of the technology cynics I am reminded of
some interesting perceptions of years past.
Western Union Internal memo 1876 Noted: "This telephone
has too many short comings to be seriously considered
as a means of communication. The device is inherently
of no value to us."
Charles H. Duell, U.S. Commissioners of Patents said
in1899, "Everything that can be invented has been
invented." Dr. Lee, Dr. forest, Inventor of the Audio
tube and father of Radio, stated on Feb 25, 1967 "Man
will never reach the moon - regardless of all future scientific
advances." and Kenneth Olsen, President and founder
of digital equipment corporation, made this unbelievable
comment in1977, "There is no reason for any individual
to have a computer in their home."
During this two-day event, you'll be shown enough technology
to become skeptics, you'll be shown new techniques and
tips to help students become lifelong readers, become
successful in mathematics and science, and prepare for
state exams. In my opinion - all are good, however, no
amount of glittering technology will raise us to new heights
if we lose our moral focus in the process.
Our technological marvels must not result in a poverty
of the spirit, we must guard against becoming smaller
morally - as we become larger technologically.
Some of you may have read a Miami Herald article published
last week about a new Miami-Dade schools program where
migrant students are using computers to do school assignments
and to keep in touch with their teachers while moving
from camp to camp with their families.
This is but one example of not only Technological Advancement,
but of our Miami-Dade County Schools' moral commitment
to assure that no student is left behind.
I'm particularly PROUD of our Administrators, our Teachers
and our Staff who work to give our students the world
I won't keep you any longer except to say we have an
incredible technological tool at our disposal. Let us
not become cynics. Let's take advantage of it!
And let us also realize that schools with productive
computer mechanisms and people with unproductive callous
minds clash in ways that create a distortion in the technological
revolution - that instead of strengthening education helps
to frustrate those we must educate.
What I'm trying to get over is this, when our technology
is woven into an intricate computerized mechanism on the
inside of our schools and our students are involved by
the insidious "trench-coat anti-social behavior"
that pushes them to the outer edge of our schools, we
become technologically "bank rolled - but morally
Too often we are told that there is nothing much we can
do about the situation.
But I believe that together we can accomplish great things.
After all, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded
us "We are tied together in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
So let us integrate technological resources with serious
invigorating attention to making sure that students who
are hungry are fed, students who come to school suffering
from abuse and neglect are attended to and students who
have lost confidence or have no confidence in their ability
to achieve are taught with renewed vigor.
This is a great moment for us ----and we must remember
these words from behind the alter of Eternity:
"We only have one minute,
Sixty seconds in it,
It's forced upon us,
We can't refuse it,
We didn't seek it,
We didn't choose it,
But its up to us to use it,
Give account if we abuse it,
It's a tiny little minute,
But eternity is in it."
In this minute, in this eternity we must assure that
when future generations look back upon these troubled
filled days that we are passing through - they will see
a people not only who conquered technology, but a people
who did not neglect the Disenchanted, Disadvantaged and
the Disinherited among us.
This is our charge. This is our responsibility!
Thank you for having me here today. Enjoy the rest of