Charles Senteio

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Gettin' That Paper

A friend recently sent me a NYT article on NY colleges who accepted students who didn’t have high school diploma or G.E.D.
I don’t think this is such a bad idea, however I would market with caution much like I would the G.E.D. Unfortunately I think the G.E.D. route is played up a bit too much and I’ve observed that kids drop out figuring they’ll just get one of these without a full appreciation of the magnitude of this undertaking. I do think if the G.E.D. route wasn’t so accessible, or perceived accessible, we would not have the numbers of drop outs we do. We shouldn’t over-promote this option as it probably sends the wrong message to kids in high school that they can go to college (easily) even without a HS degree.

I do think there are more pressing issues around the ‘over-marketing’ of college vs. the marketing of developing sellable skills. I had a long conversation with a 20 year old kid last nite about career options. He takes classes at a local Dallas Community College but he, like many his age, doesn’t have a clear picture of what he wants to do.

“Do you think joining the Army is a good thing?”

I immediately thought of Jason ‘Furious’ Styles, Fishburne’s character in “Boyz in the Hood” but didn’t share. He’s thinking about the Army as a possible option and it may be a good one however since he’s been told that ‘successful’ people either go to college or the service he’s viewing these two choices as the only options for a ‘successful’ life.
I asked him about trade school, Lincoln Tech is the one that came to mind, and he viewed this as some kind of ‘’3rd class” career option. On Saturday I attended the graduation ceremony for South Grand Prairie. Ant-Dawg, my 3rd little brother, wanted me to go and I felt a bit honored. The class was huge, over 500, and as they announced the names for some they would announce the type of scholarship they had earned and where to. For one of the students they indicated he had a full scholarship to Lincoln Tech and I heard someone in front of me, presumably a parent, snicker and say, “Who would want a scholarship there???” I think a big issue our educational system needs to address, along of course with the hyper-focus on standardized tests, is developing tradable skills. It seems as if vocations like cooking, welding, auto mechanics, medical assistants, HVAC, plumbing, etc. are frowned upon as somehow not worthy. For some they are very viable options. For anyone who has had to call a plumber recently you can attest that they can make a very good living indeed. My maternal grandfather was a plumber and I never felt like this kind of work was somehow 2nd class.
I think if we provide kids with viable options outside of just the service and college we would be doing us all a giant service. Vocational education is an important step to a viable career, and should be marketed as such.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ultimate Sacrifice

My new friend Marcus Byrd directs the Central Dallas Ministries main clinic in East Dallas. He is also a Marine who served in the Middle East during the first Gulf War. He doesn’t bring up his military experience frequently but when he does it always seems to grab my attention. Recently he told me that he had a drill sergeant who frequently said, “God loves Marines because everything they touch they kill.” He told me he didn’t understand it right away but came to appreciate his message. Marines follow orders, Marines follow a code, and Marines are efficient.

I recently saw an Email from another work colleague who has two sons currently serving in Iraq. In the Email there were two very powerful pictures I am including here. I am also including their captions. I have tremendous respect for these young people who are sacrificing for our country. This post is about appreciation so I do not want get into my views on the war. Our soldiers overseas must put their views aside with so much more at stake so for now I’d like to recognize their work and their service.

Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac.
During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: "See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."

Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."