Bill Gates Unplugged

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Trimble Tech: Where Stars Are Born

Call it a SMASH
By Eddie Griffin

An NBC TV script just above its famed peacock logo reads: Stars are not born. They are made. And so the television network opened to door for new, young stars through its "SMASH: Make A Musical" audition.

NBC’s ‘SMASH’ MAKE A MUSICAL is currently building 20 new musical theater programs in underserved schools with limited arts programming across the nation. The program is administered by iTheatrics, whose mission is to provide schools with the resources, skills and materials to present musical theatric productions with and for young people. The program guides school teachers step-by-step through creating stand-alone arts programs and aims to engage as many students as possible in all aspects and areas of the arts.

Opportunity is the best motivator for students. To have to opportunity to be what you want to be, to reach for the stars, nothing could be more exhilarating.

Arts students at Tremble Tech High School got stars in their eyes and dreams as big as Texas.

Here is an excerpt of what iTheatrics Senor Education Associate Cindy Ripley found at Trimble Tech:

“NBC’s ‘Smash’: Make A Musical”
School #10: Trimble Tech High School
Fort Worth, TX

Reported by: Cindy Ripley, iTheatrics Senior Education Associate, Resident Master Teacher

I always knew Texas was famous for doing things in a big way. No doubt. Even walking to the baggage claim in DFW airport, the distance was immense. But I had no idea that Trimble Tech High School would embody this notion of “big” and fill it with possibility.

The giant vocational high school, made up of 2,000 students, pulls from the entire district of Fort Worth. It is a place where career-minded kids can choose special majors and find specificity in their educational goals. This is a school that offers courses in computer animation, culinary arts, plumbing, cosmetology, health science, carpentry, auto body repair as well as print shop, and hospital administration to name a few. Many of these programs even grant certifications into the workforce. Athletics are very strong as is the school’s band program. Now, I invite you to sit back and think about this. How many tech schools have you heard of that are diligently trying to build an arts program? A gold star goes to this “NBC’s ‘Smash’: Make A Musical” school.

Read the complete story at:

COMMENTARY by Eddie Griffin

I remember the time when Trimble Tech High School was one of those inner city, low-performing schools that most people would have given up on. Its vocational programs were antiquated and neglected. The district wanted to cut its athletic program, and its band program was criticized in a local newspaper editorial. This was where my son and daughter attended in the mid-1990s.

All but forgotten now is the day when my kids, and all the other Tech students walked out of class and trekked five miles across the bridge to Farrington Field’s football stadium, in protest of the school district’s proposed cutting their athletic program. Leading the parade was Windell Middlebrooks who, today, is a Hollywood actor staring in ABC medical drama “Body of Proof”, and most renouned for his role as the Miller High Life truck driver.

During this time, Eddie Griffin became Trimble Tech PTA president and advocate to save the students’ athletic and bring parity to the school in educational resources.

The advocacy began with giving parents a stakeholder’s role in the schools, through the S.B. 1 Education bill in 1995, which created, for the first time, Site-Based Management Teams, giving parents a part in the decision-making process at their individual schools. Instead of being treated like gadflies and pests, parents gained a measure of respect and standing in the schools.

Building upon our newly found power, we developed a long-range improvement plan for the school, in order to upgrade long neglected technological and vocational resources. The plan would introduce computers into the inner city classroom for the first time. Yet, it was the key component of the plan that teachers scuffed at the most.

We “fired everybody”, replaced the principal, and forced everybody to re-apply for tenureship and forced students apply for placement in one of the newly rennovated technical or vocational program. The results: Two years later, the school scored “exemplary”, the highest level of academic achievement in the state, a status it held for two consecutive years.

The end of this long evolutionary process is what the writer, Cindy Ripley, observed above.

The actor, Windell Middlebrooks, is still considered a Tremble Tech native son, and a role model for other aspiring stars.

When you create an educational environment conducive for allowing students to reach their greatest potential, a star is born.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Birthday Wish Well Worth Giving

A Personal Appeal from Eddie Griffin

Monday, January 30, 2012

My friend and colleague Wayne Hicks has a birthday wish today, one well worth fulfilling. It is a wish, which I say, is also a wish of my own.

WAYNE’S WISH: Help me raise $700 for BDPA Foundation: Stimulate the Interest of Young People in the Field of Science and Technology… we need to help them “win the future”.

Since April, 2010, Eddie Griffin has been a member of the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) eGroup, as an advocate for minority students’ involvement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education. When becoming a member, it was my hope to establish a BDPA chapter in Fort Worth, Texas, in collaboration with the Dallas chapter.

Boosting our children’s academic achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) is a non-profit organization of professionals working in or having an interest in the Computer Science and Information Technology fields. BDPA has a diverse representation of information technology professionals. Included amongst the organization's members are programmers, analysts, engineers, managers, instructors, and entrepreneurs, to name a few.

Earl Pace and the late David Wimberly founded BDPA in May of 1975. BDPA was formed out of a concern shared by both men that minorities were not adequately represented in the information technology industry. (Source:

As of this week BDPA has 45 chapters around the nation. (Source:

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF Foundation) is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity, founded in 1992 to support the education and technical programs of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA).

BETF recognizes that to close the gap of computer and technology literacy, minority youth must participate and compete in today’s digital economy. We want students from historically disadvantaged communities to learn advanced computer science and community responsibility from any of the BDPA chapters located around the nation.

See Also:

BDPA Foundation YouTube and iRadio

BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) SLIDESHOW provides financial support for BDPA and share information about fundraising, funding sources and BDPA programs.

BETF Blosite:

Donate at Wayne Hicks Birthday Wish:

Eddie Griffin

Blogsites by Eddie Griffin
Social Justice:
Bible Study:
Economic Development:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First African-American Superintendent in Fort Worth ISD

a homeboy prepared all life for the job

The Second story, which would have otherwise been the first, was the selection of Walter Dansby as new Superintendent of FWISD.

Eddie Griffin is pictured with the newly selected FWISD Supt. Walter Dansby in this morning’s Star-Telegram

The picture reminds me of the conversation and promise that I made to Mr. Dansby at that time. If he were selected, I would come out of retirement and volunteer once again in the service of the children in our school system, in raising student academic achievement, and continue building a community support network.

If he should have me back in his volunteer ranks, I would look at strengthening our support infrastructure, from a proactive perspective, rather than being passively disengaged in the process of aiding our student's success.

Promethean Board demonstration