www.thecommunitypressfla.org / September 2019 / Volume 5 - No. 09

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Story - Posted by The Community Press of Florida

Story - Posted by The Community Press of Florida

From Gwyn Gittens,  Lee County School Board Chair

The Lesson for this article is Rules, laws and Protocol.  Rules, laws and protocol are supposed to keep us safe, equal and free.  The Lee County School District is made up of approximately 95,000 students.  Can you imagine if there was no Student/Parent Code of Conduct or if it were only a suggestion that each school could follow or not.  Are the rules we have always the best?  No, but then there are rules for changing them.  

Many citizens have asked why is this Watermark situation such a big deal?  

    • Rule:  Only the Governor or Attorney General can investigate Board members unless the Superintendent believes that a Board member is acting against the district then, he/she can investigate Board members, but he Must inform them of such investigations.

        ◦ An employee with the knowledge of another Board Member conspired to investigate all of the Board members through watermarking our mail without our knowledge.  The Superintendent said “the employee acted on his own in order to protect the district”. It is still a rule that must be followed by everyone.

        ◦ The bottom line is what does this have to do with Children? In order to be a high performing team that does “what’s best for students”, the board must have trust and the fact that some board members know information that is not shared with all makes trust difficult.  Transparency is the key to trust.

    • Rule: Our Policy is that in considering the name of a new school, the district will take suggestions from all community stakeholders and that information will be given to the superintendent and board for final consideration.

        ◦ As I stated at the last Board meeting “we must follow the rules” even when it is uncomfortable.  Even when you might think something might be a good idea; Stop and look at the rules.  You, the Community of taxpayers, placed us in our positions to represent you.  If we don’t know what you are thinking, we cannot represent you.  If we know what you want and ignore it we are not doing our job.  You can’t please all the people all the time, but at least let them know they are being heard.

        ◦ What are your ideas? Make your choice known.  Share your suggestions for MMM High school at www.leeschools.net/MMM.

Local Students Complete  “Step Up to Work” Summer Aide Program

Twenty five local high school students successfully completed the 2019 “Step Up To Work” Summer student aide program within the City of Fort Myers. The student aides worked in different departments throughout city government to gain job experience and learn about municipal services. This summer’s six-week session concluded yesterday with a closing program at Riverside Community Center, located at 3061 East Riverside Drive, Fort Myers.

Students were introduced to local government with an orientation session at the beginning of their employment, where they learned about the functions of the Mayor, City Manager, City Attorney and Human Resources Director. Aides also toured various city facilities during the orientation process, with stops at Fire Station 1, the Community Development Department, Fort Myers Skatium, City Clerk’s Office, IT Department, Financial Services Department, Police Department and Public Works Department (including Fleet Maintenance; Water, Sewer and Street Operations; City Nursery; City Water Plant; Recreation Division; Utilities and Solid Waste Division; Utilities Accounting Division; and Administration and Engineering). In addition, the student aides participated in an education day, where representatives from area colleges and the military spoke with students about future education opportunities.

“We welcome dozens of local students into our workforce every year, giving them exposure to different career paths and skill sets needed in municipal government,’ said Saeed Kazemi, P.E., City Manager. “I’m tremendously proud of this year’s student aides and hope some will return as city employees in the future.”

Ten of this year’s student aides also took part in the SOS (Support Our Students) program, Dunbar Community School’s summer camp for teens.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Schaffer at 239-321-7157 or sschaffer@cityftmyers. com.

A Special Thank You To  Fred Watson & The “Q”

The top left photo represents a very precious moment between a goddaughter and godfather.  

Thank you Mr. Fred Watson for being there as godfather when Amira needed you most.  

You see, on February 17, 2016, my daughter and I lost someone near and dear to our hearts…her father and my husband, Alfred Peterson.  

Alfred “Al” Peterson passed away suddenly from a serious medical condition and our lives spiraled at a very rapid pace.  

In the midst grieving the loss of my husband of 13 years, raising a daughter as a single parent and trying to keep a strong mind, I stumbled across a gem in the Dunbar community…The Quality Life Center.  God led me to the “Q” in search of a summer program for my daughter.  At that time, the only spot available was in martial arts so we tried it.  Amira has grown into a beautiful flower while excelling in dance, academics and sports.  This would not be possible without the love and support of family, friends and the Quality Life Center.

LaKeesha Allen’s production of “A Tale of Life” was phenomenal, exciting and full of life lessons.  More specifically, her tribute to fathers allowed Amira to take another step towards healing while honoring her father.  Sometimes we just need to be picked up, held and told everything will be okay.  That opportunity came for Amira during the piece “Dance with My Father.”

Thank you Quality Life Center and Fred Watson for being a part of our “Village”.

Lyne Peterson

(Photo 1): Fred Watson and Amira Peterson perform at the “Tale of Life” production sponsored by the Quality Life Center. (Photo 2): Lyne and Amira.

Story - Posted by The Community Press of Florida

“A Tale of Life…”  Death and Strength At The “Q”

On February 11, 2019, Florida Gulf Coast University hosted Jane Elliott as a guest speaker.  Ms. Elliott is a renowned teacher and lecturer.  

She is well known for her Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiments that expose prejudice and bigotry based purely on arbitrary factors. A private lunch was held in her honor at which time Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr. demonstrated his appreciation for diversity and inclusion by giving the key to the city to this iconic human rights champion.  The Mayor was joined by some of the members of his Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. The committee met following the lunch to continue its ongoing discussions relative to diversity, equity and inclusion.  The committee is led by a steering committee comprised of Dr. Peter Ndiagn’ui, Chair, Beth Countryman, Vice Chair, Kathy Dupuy-Bruno, Esq., Secretary, Dr. Guido Minaya and Roy Kennix.  
In addition, Imam M. Al-Darsani, Michele Hylton-Terry, Diana Girardo, Pam LaRiviere, Dan Oberski, Martin Byrd, Cole Caruso, Reverend CJ McGregor, Leonardo Garcia, Bev Larson and Sunny Lubner are nominated members of the committee.  

The entire committee will be introduced to the public in April 2019.

Alliance For The Arts Crowd  Toasts Black And White Suffragists

Story - Posted by The Community Press of Florida

The third “Toast to Tenacity” celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, nearly filled the theater at the Alliance for the Arts on Sunday, Aug. 25 in a program sponsored in part by the Fort Myers Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Several members took part as “Voices of Women’s Suffrage,” reading short passages that identified black women, who along with white women, were instrumental in the passage of the amendment. Black suffragists included Mary Church Terrell (Mary Simpson), Ida B. Wells Barnett (Shirley Burns), Sojourner Truth (Diane Spears), Mary Ann Shadd Cary (Geraldine Ware), Dr. Anna Julia Cooper (Tisha Moorer), and Naomi Sewell Richardson (Chris Rahmings).

DST alumnae chapter president Kathy Dupuy Bruno, Esq., welcomed the audience and introduced Mayor Randall Henderson. Bruno is a co-chair of the mayor’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, which is sponsoring a large series of events next year for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle also spoke and led a quiz about voting rights in the United States and around the country. Neil Volz, a Fort Myers man who was instrumental in the recent passage Florida measure to restore felons’ voting rights, also spoke.

In addition, Dena Galyean and Derek Lively read parts of “The Agitators,” a show that portayed the friendship between suffragist Susan B. Anthony and famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Along with the Fort Myers Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., sponsors included Vision 2020, the League of Women Voters of Lee County and the League of Women Voters of Sanibel, the Progressive Club of the Islands, the Progressive Women of Southwest Florida, the Alliance for the Arts, Arden McCurdy, Jacque McCurdy, Deborah Coe Silver and Samuel B. Stewart.