Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 7 - The Ambassador

She was twelve years of age as she was forcefully separated from her family. Before her capture, she had awoken and, looking toward the heavens, had admired the clearness of the sky, and the beauty of the clouds.  There was no place as beautiful as where she was born––a dreamer, still living in her childhood fantasies, where a world of innocence, power, and domination did not exist.  The mountains, the trails and the territory where she lived were her home, and she knew them almost as good as her brother.  Had she not roamed through the caves, even though she was verging on the brink of maturity to become a woman?

She was away from the camp with her girlfriends as she heard mighty noises that awaken her curiosity. Women screaming, grunts coming from men who were caught unaware, and children crying as their mothers lay lifeless beside them. Something was wrong.  Suddenly a rope, thrown over her head entwined her body, and she was caught in a grip that burned through her tender skin.
  • How do you deal with involuntary imprisonment?
  • How do you react to being snatched away from the only existence you had ever known?
  • How do you rationalize going from freedom to slavery within a matter of hours?
  • How do you cope with the death of your mother, father, sister and brother and all of your friends?
Overnight, the twelve year old was no longer a playful innocence little girl, she had become a slave and was expected to serve her masters, and do what she was told. She no longer had the right to be married to one of her tribesman; she no longer had the  privileges that were awarded to the women of her own tribe.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father
Sisters all are we.
Let me walk with my sister
In perfect harmony.[1]

At the age of fifteen, the time had come. From nobility to a slave, to a bet in a poker game, this teenage girl was given away to the man who won the game. One didn't think at all about her feelings. She was not asked. Choice did not find its way into her life. On her wedding night, there were no complaints about having a headache or not feeling well. Fear of being touched was a luxury that was not awarded to her, and so the young girl became the bride out of obedience and fear.
  • What would you have done if you were forced to marry someone who had won you in a poker game?
  • How would you have reacted to the insensitivity that her body must have tolerated as she lay there waiting for every thing to  be over with soon?
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me[2].

She was seventeen when the baby came. Believing she would never see her tribe again; believing all of her family had been killed, she did what most women would have done––made the best of a situation in which she had no control.

She had no idea that she had not yet met her destiny. If someone would have told her  she would see her brother again; if someone would have explained to her she would become the first woman Ambassador  for a group of men who were on a mission to discover the Northwest Passage; if someone had told her, at the age of twelve,  she  would be the person who made the difference, the person who would practically guarantee the success of the mission, this young girl would not have believed them.  Her head was filled with dreams, dreams of bringing a great warrior in the world. The seed that would make her an Ambassador  laid in incubation, deep within her soul.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.[3]

She was the pioneer, the boat pusher, the Ambassador. Captain William Clark  wrote in his journal, "The Indian woman confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter," and, "the wife of Shabono our interpeter we find reconsiles all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions. A woman with a party of men is a token of peace."[4]

It was the year of 1812, and a fever had broken out in the fort.  The Ambassador took ill.
She was now twenty-five years old and had given life to a little girl who was a little more than a year old, and  the putrid fever spreading in the fort sucked away her energy.   The Ambassador was tired.  It was time for her to Walk On.

Because she was a squaw there was no record of her birth, and no official recording was made of her death. Some say she died of the fever, others that she recovered and moved on. Tales circulate, but no knows for sure. 
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With god as our father
Sisters all are we.
Let me walk with my sister
In perfect harmony.[5]

The woman who had accompanied Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their journey to discover the Northwest Passage; the woman who had been enslaved at the age of twelve and deported far away from her own people, her own native language; the woman who was named Sacagawea, meaning the boat pusher, and had been waged as a bet in a poker game, the woman who had been designated as the Ambassador Walked On!
Sacagawea Walked On, I say, She Walked On!

She laid down her mantel and took her flight.  The first woman who saw the Northwest Passage and negotiated agreements with the Indians on Lewis and Clark's famous expedition Walked On!

Walk On, My Sisters,
Wherever you may be,
Whatever you may be facing,
Walk On, I say, Walk On!

Pat Garcia

Song- Walk On by Kellie Coffey - Link below. Sit back and enjoy!
  1. 01 Walk On  (Permission requested)

[1] Vince Gill. 1993. MCA Nashville Records.
[2] Vince Gill, 1993. MCA Nashville Records.
[3] Vince Gill, 1993. MCA Nashville Records.
[4] Wikipedia. (English Language from Clark left as it was written)
[5] Vince Gill. 1993. MCA Nashville.

Friday, June 29, 2012

New Improvements Coming on My Blog, Walk On!

One of my greatest  joys has been watching my blog, Walk On, grow.  It is a blog, which reaches out to the past and connects it to the present, as we look forward  to the future.  I am a firm believer that nothing on this earth is new. What we discover, create, or develop  started somewhere in the past.

It is true, whether we want to accept it or not that we are connected to each other.   None of us live on a lonely island by ourselves. Progress, today, is the result of  what  people in the past have started or completed.  Would we have light bulbs,  if Edison had not been a great researcher, or would we have airplanes, if  the Wright brothers had not researched what others considered as impossible, or would women's rights have come in 1920, if Abigail Adams had not made a plea to her husband for the rights of women and the Afro-Americans, or would women even be in Politics, if Sojourner Truth had not stood before an Ohio State Congress and gave her famous speech, Ain't I A Woman?  Where would we all be if the men and women of the past had not  stepped up courageously and struggled to make a difference.

I know there are many men who made contributions to our world, and yet they remain  unknown,  but I have chosen to look at the women who were champions and walked among us––women, who were  unsung heroes. Thus, you will notice some changes in blog design and content.  I am introducing the first change, today.

Because of my specific interest in women who have made a difference in this world,  I have been searching for the suitable song that speaks out encouragement and supports my  heartfelt cry to all women, who are in the process of changing their lives, to Walk On.  The song that I found speaks to my heart. It is sung by Kellie Coffey.  She does a beautiful job of challenging all of us to Walk On!

The song will be posted  at the end of each blog posting to encourage you to keep going, and I sincerely hope it gives you as much courage as it gives me.

Walk On, My Sisters, I say Walk On!

Pat Garcia

Walk On by Kellie Coffey - Permission requested on 28 June 2012. From the album Walk On by Kellie Coffey

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 6 - The Bumblebee

Looking out of her window, the streets were filled with children playing, at the age of seven that was the highest priority for most children. They were having fun, and her heart yearned to be among them. As she turned to look at the kitchen clock, the hand of the clock moved to quarter past four, and she knew she must run, if she wanted to reach the stores before they closed.  After all, the shopping had to be done, and her mother depended on her, there was no one else who could do it?
Dreams, dreams, dreams of helping others, of taking care of the weak, of ministering to people whose bodies were riddled with disease, helped her to keep going. The fact that this desire originated out of a family situation, which forced her to become an adult before her time, did not make her bitter or resign her to an impoverish life based on her environment.   No,__ while other girls were being daddy's little girl, she joyfully became the little girl who was turned into a woman to become daddy's nurse.
  • How do you return to a child the childhood it has lost?
  • How do you explain that a debilitating  sickness has infiltrated the family, and every one must bring forth a sacrifice?
  • How do you comfort the little girl that desires to be like the other kids, but instead must take the world upon her shoulders?
Tired and weary, yet full of dreams, the girl looked towards the future and saw hope and a brighter day, and she dreamed by training her mind to see what others could not see.
Brought up in a home where the word, impossible, was forbidden, she lived with her mother who was the perfect example of a woman that demonstrated strength, a woman who worked long, hard hours from 5 AM in the morning until 9 PM at night.
A few years later, this girl, who had now evolved into a young woman, had completed her high school diploma. Inoculated with the belief she could do whatever she set  her mind to do, she was among the top graduates in her class.  "You can do it," she could hear her mother say, "By golly, you can do it!" This was the song that had been etched into the deep recesses of her mind–– this song, challenged her intellectually, strengthened her belief, and reinforced her will that she could do whatever she wanted to do.
  • Don't limit yourself.  Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you.  What you believe, remember, you can achieve.[1]
Her heart's desire was to enter into Rice Institute.  However, even in those days colleges and universities were expensive.  It was 1935, and her dream was deferred, but not forgotten.  So, she married the town's celebrity and brought three children into the world.
  • For every failure there is an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.[2]
1945 and the Second World War had ended.  Four hundred and four thousand and eight hundred Americans had lost their lives on the European and Asian continents.  The man she had been married to for eleven years, the one whom she had given three children, the one whom she had prayed for late in the midnight hours came back, but not as her husband. He had already given his heart to someone else, before he left for the war.
  • What do you when you are betrayed?
  • Who do you run to seeking solace?
  • Where do you find the courage to accept a change  you did not wish for, nor desired?
Alone with three children, she had to find work. The men were returning home, and women who had once been employed due to the shortage of men at home, found themselves unemployed.
The lady was used to hard work.  Had she not started working at the age of seven?  Had she not taken on responsibilities that would make most seven year olds today cringe under the heavy load?
Her first job began as a secretary in a Baptist church when she started medical school; the deferred dream had arisen, knocking on the door of her heart, pleading to get out. It was during this period of her life, with three children to raise and take care of, when she started a second job; she became a saleswoman.  Being proficient at sales, something clicked within her, and she realized the detour she had taken looked promising, and she decided to drop out of college and began a career in sales. Having already begun to collect wisdom from the experiences she had endured so far, experiences she had attained because of her belief that all things are possible for those who believe, she embarked farther on her journey, and she tested the waters as she investigated the path  she had seen at the roadblock.
Had her mother not proven women are strong, resilient and subject to excel in anything they set their minds to do? Had her mother not confirmed caring for others has its reward? Had she not shown honesty and integrity are virtues, which blend into success?
  • If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right.
  • Every silver lining has a cloud.
  • A goal is like strenuous exercise – it makes you stretch.[3]
See the woman, as she continues to walk forward.  See the mistakes she made through  trial and error.  Examine her as she marches through her first marriage, finding out at after the war,  a man who had no concept of faithfulness or loyalty had cheated her on. See the woman with three children, as she lay awake in the midnight hours questioning, pondering, and seeking a way through the jungle she had found, which men dominated.
This is a Man's World, This is a Man's World, but it wouldn't be nothing without a woman or a girl, sang the soul singer, James Brown in 1966.[4]
Three years before Brown would record this song, the lady who was at the pinnacle called success, the lady who was laying the golden eggs behind the sales at World Gift Inc. was asked to take a demotion.  The Man's World she dominated could and would not tolerate a woman being at its helm.  She resigned.
  • A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.[5]
Standing at another roadblock, she saw the detour.  Would she take it?  Would she step out there at forty-nine years of age and take on new challenge?   Identifying her market, and developing marketing plans, the lady, who had laid golden eggs for others, invested all she had, and began to lay golden eggs for herself.
  • People fall forward to success.[6]
So, it was for her.  She fell forward to success. "Every cloud has a silver lining.  Dare to risk public criticism, and for every failure, there is an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour," she said.[7]
November 22, 2001, thirty-nine years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Bumblebee, as she was sometime known, prepared to take her flight.  The temperature was mild in Dallas, Texas, around seventy-one degrees on her departure date.  That did not matter to the Bumblebee, though. She was ready to Walk On.  She had successfully pass through the embarrassment and feelings of rejection and failure in her first marriage; courageously rose up from the loss of her partner and second husband of one month by death; humbly forgiven those who tried to degrade her, and became the most influential woman in business in the twentieth century.
She Walked On! People, The Bumblebee Walked On! She stood up and spread her wings and began to fly into eternity.
Mary Kay Wagner Ash, The Bumblebee, the woman who said, Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway,[8] Walked On!
Walk On! My sisters, all you who have a dream!
Walk On! From whatever nation you come from,
Walk On! Regardless of your native tongue,
Walk On! Though the color of your skin be different
Walk On! My Sisters, I say, Walk On![9] 
Pat Garcia

[1] Brainy Quotes. 2001-2012,
[2] Brainy Quotes. 2001-2012.
[3] Brainy Quotes. 2001-2012.
[4] James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome. 1966. It's a Man's Man's Man's World (album)
[5] Brainy Quotes, 2001-2012.
[6] Brainy Quotes. 2001-2012.
[7] Brainy Quotes. 2001-2012.
[8] Brainy Quotes. 2001-2012.
[9] Patricia Anne Pierce-garcia Schaack, (Pat Garcia). June 21, 2012.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 5 - The Banker

Work for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling,
Work mid springing flowers;
Work when the day grows brighter,
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man's work is done.[1]

1934, the Black Tuesday that had ushered in the Great Depression of 1929 was losing its speed, and the world's economy was turning around, looking upward. The GNP in the United States had risen to 7.7 per cent, and the unemployment rate had gone down from 24.9 per cent to 21.7 per cent. The road to recovery had finally begun.
It was the day of December 15, and it was unusually cold, the wind was blowing, and rain was everywhere as the wind howled at the door of the hearse that was carrying the coffin, and yet, the streets were filled with people. Schools had let their pupils out early, flags were flying at half mast, and politicians were gathering in the city to be counted as being among those who admired and honored her.
  • How do you explain the success of a woman who had defied the business world and succeeded?
  • What kind of answer do you give to those who ask how she managed to keep her business alive and healthy, even through the rough times of the Depression?
  • How do you account for her micro-economic way of way of establishing bank accounts that paid off, instead of going under?
In retrospect, many people, on that particular day looked back at her life, and comparing it with their own lives asked themselves:
  • What if?
  • What would they have done?
It was July 15, 1867, and a half-breed love child of an Irishman and a freed Negro slave came into the world.  The Civil War was over.  The ratification of the fourteenth amendment took place six days before her first birthday on July 9, 1868. The first four or five years of her little world centered on her mother. After the marriage of her mother to the butler of the family she had been working for, this young girl received a last name and was now considered legitimate.
Raised by a mother who valued education and did not shun hard work, she was taught the greater good of working hard to achieve.  It was like an injection shot into her veins. If you want to be something, you have to work hard at it. So, being particularly smart in mathematics, she worked hard and was among the best in her small class of ten students at the time of her graduation.
The years rolled on and it was late in the nineteenth century.  Women were not yet allowed to vote, and women entrepreneurs were the laughing stock of the male population.  After all, everyone knew women had no sense for business and much less for business management.  However, this principle, which supported the hypothesis that women were born as the not-so-intelligent species of the world, would be irreparably damaged, a few years later, as the world moved over into the twentieth century.   The door to women in business would open-wide, as one young woman, whom they had not even speculated upon, walked through the back door.
  • What do you do when someone tells you it can't be done?
  • How do you react when you come up against a wall of  ignorance?
Who would dare start a bank with $9,430 dollars gathered together from members of a benevolent institution?  Who would have had the audacity to approach the board members with such a hay wired risk-taking plan and expect for it to work. After all, the purpose of the institution was to cover funeral expenses and take care of illnesses in exchange for small monthly dues.  She had a hand for taking dead organizations and breathing life back into them.  Her principle of saving and her philosophy of hard work kept her living and moving forward towards her goals.   The micro bank loans in many of the poorer countries today are based on a principle that was created by this woman.
Later on, the trials of life tested her tenacity to keep going––her ability to persevere was put into the test of fire.  It was 1907, and she fell accidentally.  That fall would bring her pain and extreme difficulty and slowly take away her body movements, until she would need a wheelchair.  However, the dream kept her alive, and the drive to succeed, the motivation to be all she could be, the belief  of working hard until her night came spurred her on to live and achieve.
A fall, which would have made many others give up, endowed her with a new name––The Lame Lioness. The ferociousness of her business skills compared her to a lioness that protects her baby cubs.
She had attained her finesse in business by taking accounting and business courses at night after a hard day's work and taking care of her family. What other choice had she? But it paid off.  Nothing could stand in her way; nothing could hurt her. Invincible? No, the woman was not invincible, she was determined, determined to utilize every talent she had been given, determined to not let the wear and tear of life stop her from achieving her goals.
Work, for the night is coming,
Work in the sunny noon;
Fill brightest hours with labor,
Rest comes sure and soon.
Give every flying minute
Something to keep in store:
Work for the night is coming,
When man works no more.[2]
Her time of tribulation did not end quickly.  In 1915, tragedy tested her courage and her love of mankind once more.  Her son, Russell, accidentally shot his own father.  He thought he was a burglar who was breaking into their home.
  • Would she be able to forgive her son and stand by him during the trial?
The newspapers reported how she lovingly gave him her support, forgiving and supporting him.  He was acquitted, and she accepted what her son could not accept.  Nine years later, Russell would depart this earth, and the banker, now affectionately known, as the Lame Lioness would take his wife and child into her care as a part of her extended family.
Through all that was to come the woman kept dreaming, kept moving, kept working.  By the time of the Great Depression, she was completely bound to her wheelchair.
  • Who do you turn to?
  • Where do you run?
While other banks were seeking governmental aid, this woman was busy putting together one of the best merger and acquisition plans for  troubled banks at that time, and she expanded her bank's capital and influence in the business world. Wall Street was stunned,  and the politicians took note of her innate ability to rescue that which others thought was hopelessly lost.  The Lame Lioness, the woman who could not walk, had brought together a bank that still exists today, the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company in Virginia.
The streets were crowded on that cold and rainy December day, the fifteenth, nineteen hundred and thirty-four.  People of all nationalities, races and cultures marched towards the Old First Baptist Church of Richmond to pay their last respect. There, she had worshipped her God, since she was a child.  There, she had received the courage to dream. There, she had trained herself, and at the age of fourteen worked faithfully and loyally in the Independent Order of St. Luke, where she had reached out to the sickly, and buried those whose families were not able to pay their burial costs.
Work, for the night is coming,
Under the sunset skies;
While their bright tints are glowing,
Work, for daylight flies.
Work till the last beam fadeth,
Fadeth to shine no more;
Work while the night is darkening,
When man's work is o'er.[3] 
She Walked On, people, She Walked On!
On December 15, 1934, Maggie Lena Walker, the Lame Lioness,
  • The woman who had become the first woman President of a bank,
  • The woman who had taken accounting classes at night,
  • The woman who believed in working hard and persevering
had Walked On!
Walk On, All you Lame Lionesses, Walk On,
Walk On! All you who are proving that a disability does not limit the person's ability!
Walk On! I say, Walk On!

Pat Garcia

[1] Work for the Night Is Coming, Annie L. Walker, 1865, The Baptist Hymnal, Judson Press, Valley Forge, 1967.
[2] Work for the Night Is Coming, Annie L. Walker, 1865, The Baptist Hymnal, Judson Press, Valley Forge, 1967.
[3] Work for the Night Is Coming, Annie L. Walker, 1865, The Baptist Hymnal, Judson Press, Valley Forge, 1967.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 4 - The Doctress

She was a sparky little thing, curious about nature and the anatomy of the human being.  Being around her mother, who had a keen sense for business and ran her own hotel, and a father who was a Scottish army officer, she had the best of both worlds.
It was from her father that she inherited her dogged, stubborn determination to never give up. After all, what was a setback other than a test to strengthen one's courage and spur one own to achievement.  So was it taught to this young girl, the product of an interracial marriage between a Scotsman and an African, who was a free black woman in Kingston, Jamaica.
Learning about herbs from her mother, she watched as her mother ministered to those who were ill, as well as run a successful business. The herbal, medical treatment her mother had learned helped many, and they were healed. Thus, it was quite natural, the young girl would want to know more, so she travelled about, from country to country, visiting the Bahamas, Haiti, Cuba, and Panama, as she gathered more and more knowledge from people who used plants and herbs to cure certain diseases, and The Doctress was born.
No one had ever told her she could not do what she set out in her heart to accomplish. Quite the opposite, she had learned nothing was impossible; that dreams do come true; that the dignity of the human being is inviolable.
  • What do you do once you have gathered knowledge?
  • How do you give back what you have learned?
Opportunity came clothed in the garment of an epidemic, in 1850.  Cholera broke out among the inhabitants of Kingston, and The Doctress began her medical residency. Her herbal medicine bag in hand, this woman was instrumental in keeping the death toll low.  The epidemic passed, and her tenacity and caring temperament brought her accolades of praise and respect.  Soon, she was doctoring on people who had gunshot wounds, ministering to people with yellow fever, and applying her knowledge and expertise in outlying regions all over Jamaica.
  • What do you do once the crisis is over?
  • Where do you go with the expertise you have gained?
1854, the Crimean war had already started. British soldiers were dying quickly of  illnesses caused by cholera and malaria. Statistics say that of the twenty-one thousand British soldiers who died during this war, only three thousand died from actual war wounds.
  • Where was The Doctress?
  • Did she not reach out to help her countrymen?
Hearing about the conditions, The Doctress traveled to London. It was time to do something about the situation, and she had the knowledge, the expertise, to alleviate the maladies, which were attacking the soldiers. She pleaded to a society that would not tolerate a woman interfering into men's affairs, and her pleas fell on deaf ears. The Doctress was rejected, noticing perhaps for the first time, that society condemned  women who decided to step outside of the norm.
The great Doctress had reached her limits, some had thought, but had she really?
  •  What do you do once you have gathered knowledge?
  • How do you put it to use?
Off to the battlefront, she went. No money, no equipment, and no herbal medical supplies, but she had learned how to think.  There she established near the battlefront a hotel, which gave her the capital she needed to give free care to the soldiers who came seeking her help.
The British Home office had finally established a dispensary some kilometers from the Battlefront with Florence Nightingale and her team of nurses, but it was The Doctress who many of the soldiers sought. When the battle was raging its hardest, The Doctress was somewhere on the battlefield ministering care to her soldiers, and closing the eyes of those who had been fatally wounded.  Yes, it was The Doctress, many soldiers yearned to see.
1856, the war had abruptly ended. The Doctress returned to London and opened up a business, only to find herself going through bankruptcy proceedings in November of the same year. The business had failed. There she was, alone and penniless, with no recognition of her work and her devotion to the British soldiers. She had received no pay, no thanks, and no recognition from the British government, even though the soldiers sang praises of her. The Doctress was financially dead!
  • What do you do once the crisis is over?
  • Where do you go to revive your weary soul?
Tired and weary, The Doctress was bankrupt. She made the people aware of her plight by writing about it in the newspapers. No, she was not one of those with false pride. She had no problems reaching out and saying, I need help.  The soldiers who had received care from her started a petition, and ten years later in 1867, Queen Victoria acknowledged her for her glorious deeds during the Crimean war, and she received a small pension.
A spring day, May 14, 1881 presented itself at its best; the songbirds passed by with a song, the eucalyptus trees stretched towards the heaven, the herbal plants let out soft cries of praise, as they filled the air with their smells. Suddenly, a soul took one last breath of the aroma in the air and crossed over. Mary SeacoleThe Doctress, a citizen of the British Commonwealth, had Walked On! One of the founders of alternative medical treatment in the Western world, and the first woman to work in a medical capacity as a doctor on the battlefield had taken her flight! Dr. Mary Seacole had Walked On!
Walk On, I say, Walk On!
Pat Garcia

Monday, June 4, 2012

Words from the Heart: The Corporatization of America's Schools

Words from the Heart: The Corporatization of America's Schools

Good morning,

I have just read your most informative article about what is happening with education in the United States and would like to thank you.  It really gave me some information about the present path of education.  I am an American, living in Germany, and often such information passes by me without my having any knowledge of it.
I wish you success in your protest.  As a graduate of Augusta State University, in Augusta, Georgia, I was taught how to independently think for myself and consider myself to have had an excellent education. I would hate to see that discontinued through standardized testing, which would influence critical thinking immensely.
Once again, thank you.