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Livingstone donates free books to outstanding Isenberg students

By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone CollegeNews Service
Livingstone College officials were on hand just before school let out for the summer to distribute free books during an awards ceremony for Isenberg Elementary School fifth- graders.
The 90-minute event was held in the schoolís gymnasium and featured Salisbury Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell, who began the ěMoving Up Ceremonyî with a powerful message: Never give up.
Blackwell showed slides of several famous people ó and one cartoon character ó who struggled before achieving success. Her presentation began with Wile E. Coyote of ěRoad Runnerî fame and ended with Sochiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. Sprinkled in between were Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Wilma Rudolph, Michael Jordan and Steven Spielberg.
ěMichael Jordan couldnít play basketball as well as his brothers as a young man,î Blackwell said. ěHe put salt in his shoes and believed Ö eventually becoming a 10-time MVP, winning three Olympic gold medals and six NBA titles. He never gave up.î
She discussed many losses suffered by Lincoln, including that of his girlfriend, before asking the students: ěWhat would have happened if he had given up?î
Blackwell began her presentation by saying all people experience disappointment, fear and embarrassment at some time in their lives, and she also told the students she wasnít going to tell them the title of her presentation but expected them to tell her instead, at the end.
After showing the clip on Honda, Blackwell asked the fifth-graders for the title, and they responded in a rousing chorus: ěNever Give Up!î
When it was time for Livingstone officials to take the stage, they did so armed with bags containing books.
Suzette Davis, associate professor of education at Livingstone College, told the students that she and colleagues Michael Perry, a math tutor, and Dr. Lea Vickers, division chairwoman of the education, psychology and social work department, stopped by to donate books to some outstanding members of the fifth-grade class.
Darreon Gittens, Harmony Priest, Haley Chuor, Long Le, Brynn Moore, Tyvion Wood, Anthony Espinal and Carizma Kelly received books from Livingstone. They were chosen based on their end-of-grade test scores in reading and math, said Dr. Carolyn Duncan, Livingstoneís chairwoman of elementary and secondary education.
ěLivingstone College has a partnership with the Rowan-Salisbury Schools that allows us to place teacher education majors in the various classrooms during their courses of study to complete their student teaching,î Duncan said. ěIsenberg Elementary School also allows the Teacher Education Committee to hold meetings in their building. As one way to support the schoolís Scholastic Book Fair, the education department decided to present books to two students from each fifth-grade classs.î
Isenberg Elementary School has 416 students, including 82 fifth-graders.
Principal Nathan Currie, a 1998 Livingstone graduate, said heís thankful for the schoolís partnership with the college, which began officially this year.
ěI sit on Livingstoneís teacher education advisory board, and weíre looking at becoming a clinical school which means weíre trying to partner with their education majors to have them come to our school to conduct observations and work as part of their degree requirements before they begin student teaching,î Currie said. ěThe goal would be to allow the Livingstone students who are majoring in education to become more comfortable with the school setting.
ěThe arrangement would be part of Isenbergís overall school improvement goal, to retain and attract highly qualified teachers,î Currie continued. ěThe social piece of that is weíre hoping this will also create a mentor/partnership between Livingstone students and our students.î
Currie said the fact that Livingstone has linked with his school speaks well of the higher education institution.
ěWe have a great partnership with the college in all areas, not only education,î he said. ěLivingstone College has helped sponsor some of our local events, as well. Their donation of books shows that the community is supporting Isenbergís efforts and helping to foster our school. Besides, books are probably the best gift there is for a young student.î

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