Vol. 6    No. 10
MAY 19, 2011

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000
gramling@capitalcityhues.com


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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang
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Hocker, Heidi Pascual, Jessica
Pharm, Laura Salinger, Jessica
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The last few weeks have been pretty inspirational for this reporter as graduation season has
unfolded across Dane County. It has actually been an awesome time as I traveled to Madison
schools to take photos and collect information for the 2011 Hues Row of Excellence that highlights
seniors of color graduating from Dane County schools with a 3.0 GPA or higher. In fact, there are a
few 4.0 GPA students in this year’s class.

I love developing this special section — which is an insert in this edition of The Capital City Hues —
because it is a beautiful mosaic of academic achievement and portrait of tomorrow’s leaders in our
shrinking world. We are coming out a little late this issue because there has been so much
excellence to cover. This year, I wrote profiles on approximately 160 students who met the criteria
of excellence, about 30-40 more than last year. I attribute the increase to a few more students
reaching the bar and the wonderful work of Madison’s minority services coordinators and the
guidance counselors in many of Dane County’s high schools. We couldn’t do it without them.

Walking the halls of Madison’s high schools was also a lesson in contrasting images of what is
going on with African American students, in particular. I walked the halls with several of the
minority services coordinators 3-4 times getting photographs and getting data from the students.
The students who were going to be in the 2011 Hues Row of Excellence were in class and engaged
in their studies.

But there was also a group of students whom I began to recognize who were roaming the halls and
avoiding going to class. For whatever reason that they have — perceived or real — for not being
engaged in their studies, the truth is that they will not be prepared for their roles as adults and will
not be competitive in the global economy of tomorrow. The trajectory of their lives and the
trajectory of the lives of Tosha Songolo and Cydny Black, the two UW-Madison college graduates
who appear on our cover and graduated from Madison Memorial a few years ago, are strikingly
different for Tosha and Cydny are well on their way to finding their place in tomorrow’s economy.

I fear for the students whom I saw evading class. While some of them might feel that they are
getting over now — and who knows they might have some legitimate gripes or not that are
nonetheless keeping them back while others succeed — it is they who lose and will suffer in the
end.

I ended up doing profiles on some students for the Row of Excellence whom I taught in the UW
PEOPLE Program’s summer program when they were eighth graders. I felt a sense of pride to see
them retaining their academic excellence and know that they will be moving on to the next
academic level. But I also saw a former PEOPLE student who was starting to fall by the wayside.
He was a good kid then and I am sure he is a good kid now. But I fear that the wrong influences
have come into his life and he has allowed barriers to his future be placed in his way and hasn’t
moved around them to take care of himself academically. I pray that the right intervention comes
his way and that he once again gets on the right track.

Even though things may seem unjust and unfair at times, our students cannot let that turn them
around. Life has its unfair moments at times and we have to ignore them for the moment and keep
moving forward while eventually dealing with the injustice when we are in a position to do so. If
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman and many other figures in African American history let
unfairness and injustice stop them from attaining what they needed to attain, we would still be back
in the days of slavery.

When African American students do not move forward regardless of what they might experience, it
is they — and eventually the African American community — who suffer and the rest of the world
keeps moving forward. The most effective form of resistance to racism for African American
students is to achieve academically for it frustrates those who might have attitude problems and it
is the only effective way for them to overcome. It has been said that education is the civil rights
battleground for the 21st century. They are so right. And our African American students must move
forward academically and not let anyone turn them around.

So I salute the graduates who are featured in our paper this issue and urge future generations of
students to achieve and fulfill themselves and fulfill the yearning of those who paid with their lives
for their opportunity to be who they want to be.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling   
               Educational Reflections

SPECIAL GRADUATION ISSUE:

2011 ROW OF EXCELLENCE