Zig on Unsung Heroes

In an issue of Washington Post, Colman McCarthy tells the encouraging story of three male teachers at Garrison Elementary School in Washington, D.C. The school is in an underprivileged neighborhood; street violence is common and roughly three-fourths of the Garrison kids live in poor, mostly female-headed single parent families.

The three unsung heroes who need to be sung more are Gregory Thomas, Mark Lewis and Darryl Vann. These men, ages 28, 35 and 42, are rarities in early childhood education. They're men in a traditionally female-dominated profession. Each of these men left much higher-paying jobs but felt they were less satisfying and challenging than what they are currently doing. Each one, according to Mr. McCarthy, believes passionately that, besides the academics, just their masculine presence is socially and emotionally helping their boys and girls.

Gregory Thomas, who grew up in Queens and Harlem and worked for NBC News in Washington after graduating from Howard University, sees elementary schools as "the front lines of the inner city. You can shape character in children at this level." . . . He says, "A lot of my children feel that they've been betrayed by their fathers or the male figures in their lives. I try to provide a positive role model and a sense of stability."

Similar stories and feelings are told by Mark Lewis and Darryl Vann. Each one of these men believes that being a male teacher benefits the children.

Mr. McCarthy concludes his column by saying, "The country and its children would be better served if we showered as much praise on them as the tenured profs at Harvard. And paid them the same, too." He's absolutely right. When more of us buy into this concept we will SEE more of YOU AT THE TOP!