Videos, texts on black success donated to Baltimore schools

May 19, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore public schools will be guiding their students toward excellence next school year with a series of videotapes and workbooks that feature black leaders, entrepreneurs and entertainers describing how they overcame adversity.

Automaker Saturn Corp. gave 125 sets of the "Ebony/Jet Guide to Black Excellence" videos, with instructional guides for teachers and student workbooks, to school Superintendent Walter G. Amprey at Booker T. Washington Middle School yesterday.

The students also received some firsthand lessons in success.

Dr. Walker Robinson, a surgeon and an alumnus of Booker T. Washington Middle, recalled being told at the school that he was expected to do great things.

"The one thing I got from the teachers on that first day was when they said, 'We expect you to excel and to succeed.' It wasn't a question about whether you can do the work. . . . I found in 41 years that some of us seem to have lost the idea that excellence is possible," said Dr. Robinson, associate professor in the department of surgery at the University of Maryland Medical System.

Actor Charles S. Dutton, star of the television show "Roc," said a change of attitude led to his success.

"There was a time in my life when I was ashamed to be educated, to speak well and to have knowledge. But the one simple act of seeking some knowledge changed my whole life. I went from jail to Yale," Mr. Dutton said, referring to his theater training at Yale Drama school.

The "Guide to Black Excellence" features many well-known blacks, including Mr. Dutton, Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby and John H. Johnson, president of a company that publishes Ebony, Jet and Ebony Man magazines.

Saturn Corp. also has donated the video package to public schools in Oakland, Calif.; Nashville, Tenn.; Boston; and St. Louis.

"Black Excellence will be a valuable resource in reinforcing the importance of education, goal-setting and being successful through the use of well-known role models," Dr. Amprey said. "Saturn's sponsorship and donation of this series underscores the company's commitment to education."

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