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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dropout Summit: Part 1

A Thankful Eddie Griffin
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

As I give thought of the day, I am thankful and humbled by my friends. On yesterday, my friends came out to the America’s Promise Alliance’s Dropout Summit. And, I saw a lot of love in the room… love for our children, love for ourselves… and, more importantly, love for each other.

Our kids are in good hands in Fort Worth, Texas. Eat your heart out, World.

There they were marching up onto the stage, the Class of 2021, singing a vow to some day march across that latter stage in life, school graduates.

Danna Diaz wiped a tear from her eye, and leaned over to me and whispered, “Where will you be in 2012?” I wept silently also. I thought about my 5-year old granddaughter, the one who always asks, “What did I do wrong?” She, too, is in the Class of 2021.

We talked about the grandkids, Mayor Mike and I, and about how gray we are getting. We both have 9-year old grandsons. This is the Class of 2018. After our being overly drunk on politics, we have sobered up to see what is really important in our life’s work. What will become of our children and our children’s children?

Star-Telegram editorialist Bob Ray Sanders moderated the panel discussion with a panel of teens, one of whom was nicknamed “Knucklehead”. Strange, I thought. For over 20 years, I had dubbed my kids “Dingbats and Knuckleheads”. This was my way of teaching at-risk kids how to learn from their mistakes.

So, Bob Ray and I chewed the fat as usual, going back to elementary school together, him and me. He hasn’t changed a dime.

What’s happening with the newspaper business these days and all these rumors about the Star-Telegram going out of business?

I could swear that boy Bob Ray still got blinders on, with his head to the sky. The future of US newspapers, I explained, is one universal national daily, and subscribing locals for papers and online delivery. (But what the heck, I’m talking to an old school mate from the 1960s and who still does not have a Face Book account.)

And here was my star student Candis Davis joining me at our table. This is the Class of 2009. And typical of a young lady, she is flirting... maybe, maybe not.

“What?” I exclaimed. “I thought you were set on TCU?”

Well, since receiving an acceptance letter from TCU, she has had some other enticing offers, like, for example, Baylor.

“Baylor? That’s in Waco,” I muttered. Oh well, at least one of my high school kids is set on TCU. She, too, is in the Class of 2009, and also a member of the Student Council.

I was amazed the students had a brain trust amongst their group. And, when the voting was done, I found myself voting for the ideas of the kids.

After all, where will I be when they face the challenges of 2012?

Class of 2024

Class of 2019, 2022, and 2024

Dropout Summit Response to Part 1

In looking back over the past weekend’s Dropout Summit, I overlooked Gloria Campos, our illustrious host, and she was offended. This is part of the exchange that brought this to my attention.

From: Campos, Gloria
Subject: RE: Dropout Summit: Part 1
To: Eddie Griffin
Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 3:52 PM

I guess me driving in from Dallas before reporting for work was not note worthy.
Sorry if I disappointed you.

Gloria Campos

WOW! I admit to being too narrowly focused that day at the summit. Plus, Gloria did not look like herself on TV. She was wearing glasses. She probably didn’t see me, the “blind man” in the back, wearing the dark glasses.

Nevertheless, I wrote to apologize, as best I could. After all, it was she, moderating the summit from the podium that said: "it's not about us, but all about the kids.”

So, I wrote:

Gloria, but of course, you were our maiden of honor. We were enriched, charmed, and blessed by your presence. My essay, “Dropout Summit: Part 1” was focused more on the kids, the Class of 2021 to the Class of 2009. It would have been impossible to write about everybody at the summit... Are you jealous, Glory?


I should have known not to ask or add insult to injury. But this was her response:

No I am not, but I know when I've been snubbed...
Gloria Campos Wfaa-TV News Anchor/Reporter

A Confession and Apology to Gloria Campos

After some deep soul-searching, I confess the truth that I paid little attention to Ms. Gloria Campos. The Dropout Summit was a work session for me. So, I was panning the room as she was speaking. There were people I wanted to see and talk to about ongoing business. My bad!

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