30 April 2008

YorkCounts E-Newsletter - April 2008

The YorkCounts E-Newsletter
found on the blog at yorkcounts.org
April 2008

In this issue:
  • Summit speakers capture attendee, media attention
  • Also at the Annual Summit
  • Menzer on Metro-York
  • More information: Citizen-Student award-winners shine
  • More information: Zerbin Singleton’s poem

* * *

Summit speakers capture attendee, media attention

Civil rights pioneer Dr. Terrence Roberts and Naval Academy standout Midshipman 1st Class Zerbin Singleton brought the nearly 300 attendees to their feet at the 2008 YorkCounts Annual Summit, held April 17 at the Yorktowne Hotel.

Roberts was one of the Little Rock Nine, the first African-American students enrolled in previously all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Singleton overcame unbelievable life challenges to become Brigade Commander of this year’s senior class at the U.S. Naval Academy. Both related their stories of adversity and success at an event whose theme was “Educational Opportunities for All.”

The York Daily Record captured a summary of Roberts’ lesson for students: “When you know you are doing right, you can always find ways to move forward.”

Singleton, meanwhile, began his speech with a poem delivered with a rap beat. The York Sunday News reprinted the poem in its entirety a week later, accompanied by an editorial that read in part, “The people in the Yorktowne ballroom… heard how education can produce remarkable young men like Zerbin Singleton. They’ve dedicated their time and effort to making York a place that can produce hundreds – thousands – of Zerbin Singletons. Listen to his words… and ask, ‘What can I do to help?’”

Singleton’s poem appears in its entirety in this newsletter (see below).

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Also at the Annual Summit

Also at the Annual Summit, YorkCounts:

  • Presented 45 civically engaged York County high school students with the first YorkCounts Citizen-Student Awards. A list of winners appears in this newsletter (see below).

  • Noted the election of a new chairman of the YorkCounts Board, Eric Menzer. Menzer is a familiar face to YorkCounts initiatives as a long-time board member and co-chairman of the Metro-York project in 2006 and 2007; he is senior vice president of Wagman Construction.

  • Provided an updated list of groups that have applauded the efforts of Metro-York participants.

* * *

Menzer on Metro-York

Incoming YorkCounts Board Chairman Eric Menzer offered these thoughts in “YorkCounts 2008: Turning Points,” the 2008 YorkCounts annual report.

YorkCounts launched the Metro-York project in 2006 to address core concerns in the heart of the county, including a concentration of poverty, rising crime, tax burdens and inequities, a lack of job opportunities and challenges within our schools.

To say 2007 represented a turning point for the Metro-York process would be a world-class understatement. Members of three committees gathered to listen to testimony and analysis from experts and leaders. A spring and summer of research and discussion gave way to synthesis, refinement and, on November 15 at a press conference hosted by the York Jewish Community Center, the presentation of eight clear and concise ideas for improving municipal prosperity and education.

Of course, we didn’t stop there. By the early weeks of 2008, volunteer leaders were already laying the groundwork for new task forces. The next year will bring even more activity on the Metro-York front.

At the same time, Metro-York is only part of the YorkCounts agenda. The YorkCounts Community Solutions Committee is continuously looking to launch new collaborations – known as Compacts and Engagements – to improve quality of life across York County, from Goldsboro to Stewartstown and from Wrightsville to Paradise Township.

Why do we do it?

One needs look no further than the pages of the 2008 YorkCounts annual report. We were excited to gather together some of York County’s brightest young citizens for a meeting of our Educational Opportunities Committee in February 2008 and for the presentation of Citizen-Student Awards at the Summit during which the annual report was released.

They are the faces of York County’s future. Doing everything we can to help our children to succeed is our moral obligation, and York County’s long-term prosperity depends on their success. In 2008 and beyond, YorkCounts is sure to undertake a host of activities to improve our community. Those of us who currently comprise this area’s leadership ranks will someday step aside ourselves, and we must turn over to the next generation a York County that is better and stronger than the one we inherited.

* * *

More information: Citizen-Student award-winners shine

YorkCounts presented 45 York County students – three high school students each from 14 different York County school districts and York Catholic High School – with the first YorkCounts Citizen-Student Awards. School administrators identified honorees who are substantially engaged, both in school activities and in the community; are known for leadership, especially in the area of bringing different groups together to accomplish meaningful goals; and are good students (although a 4.0 grade point average was not a necessity; the awards are meant to recognize more than academic excellence). Sophomores, juniors and seniors were eligible.

Here’s a complete list of winners. Please note -- we're still assembling the full section of the website on the 2008 Annual Summit where you'll be able to find more photos, biographies of the Citizen-Student award recipients and more. Stay tuned!

Central York High School: Megan Eline, Madelyn Krug, Rita Sharma
Dallastown Area Senior High School: Denisha Brown, Jordan Derk, Toni Lozzi
Eastern York High School: Anna Miller, Garret Otterbein, Sadie Winship
Hanover Senior High School: Ashley Brown, Olivia Ecker, Matt Storm
Kennard-Dale High School: Dalana Mormann, Ashley Pietra, Eric Ruth

Northeastern High School: Brittni Garvin, Alivia Kramlick, Mark Sollars
Northern High School: Nick Grassetti, Emily Harlacker, Jordan Rutherford

Red Lion Area High School: Frances Greek, Shane Sarver, Stephen States

Southwestern High School: Sarah Cashdollar, Brynn Seidenstricker: Tracy Shipman

Spring Grove Area High School: Tia Monet Cook, Jake Smeltzer, Elizabeth Walker

Susquehannock High School: Matthew Detter, Hannah Mistovich, Laura Sullivan

West York Area High School: Alyssa Dodson, Kari Inners, Samuel Miller

William Penn High School: Davis Giadoo, Latisha Murray, Brandon Walker

York Catholic High School: Michael Bucher, Meghan McGowan, Frances Menzer

York Suburban Senior High School: Tristalyn Bixler-Kint, Kaila Lehr,Bradley Simon

* * *

More information: Zerbin Singleton’s poem

“The priceless masterpiece of my world”
by Zerbin Singleton

It's so quiet you can hear my mind think
It's like a riot; my words rush the paper through ink.
My temperament is usually cool, calm and collected,
But in this form of expression I'm speaking through reflection.
It's so real you can feel my heart beat
You ain't gotta touch me; just listen to the tap of your feet.
You don't know me, but we will connect
The formation of these words is the universal Lego set
You can call it the 6th sense
Drugged on the emotional rollercoaster of suspense
It's your five sense overdosed on ecstasy
You're already feeling what my future thoughts might be
But let me stop playing with your emotions
And give you the testament of my real world potion
Because drugs have devastated my community
Babies addicted at infancy
Young children stuck by needles with HIV
Or a lesser disease like Hep C
Parents fired because of truancy
Children hungry because of no food to eat
Because the money went to drugs in the street
And this picture isn't vivid enough
Well let me paint the portrait of living rough
Mother addicted before child's birth
Can you tell me what a life of drugs is worth?
At school the child was barely present
His mother has been asleep for three days
He thinks she needs "the" medicine
No one to open the door to take him to school
He all dressed with mismatched shoes
Hot tears stream down to warm his cheeks
Cold house, ghost breath because of no heat
Malnutritioned because no one to fix him something to eat
He's crying again because he just seen his mom get beat
His clothes are too small, handwriting is bad, but he's real good at math
Though when he does go to school all the kids laugh
But at least breakfast and lunch is provided by the state
Lunch is his favorite subject like he's eating sirloin steak
He lives in the romantic house lit by candle light
Naw, the power is turned off, a day of all night
And really you still can't see, although you're crying with sympathy
Christmas was nice until everything is gone
His mother pawned the gifts to get high in the zone
Burglary, Kidnapping, that man took his mom
Couldn't call the police because of no phone
A day later his mom came back
She loved him dearly, but was addicted to crack
But what about the 13-year-old girl on the corner
Instead of being proactive, all you do is mourn her
Her daddy put her there, now that's the real shame
And if I was describing the world, we're just on the picture frame
I could go on and on about the drug game
And how society places our rappers to blame
And this may even seem like lyrics from a rap track
And if you're the majority you might just blame it on that
When in many instances those lyrics spit are the facts
So don't blame hip hop for the misguidance of our children
Just ask yourself what you have done for your own kin
And if this world is love, then its spelt S.I.N.
I can't wait to meet my father in heaven
But we have learn to forgive our trespassers from within
Overcome our past, because today you can begin
To save a child, educate a man
Live by example and teach the right ways
Here's a paintbrush, paint a masterpiece, for no pay.

This poem reflects Midshipman 1st Class Zerbin Singleton’s personal views and not those of the Naval Academy, the Navy or the Department of Defense.

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The YorkCounts E-Newsletter is written by Beau Boughamer. Reach YorkCounts by mail c/o the Center for Community Engagement at York College of Pennsylvania, 605 South George Street, Suite 160, York, PA 17401, by telephone at (717) 815-6430 or by e-mail at yorkcounts@gmail.com. Visit YorkCounts online at yorkcounts.org.