Gary native and Rhodes Scholar [Carlton Long] encourages teachers as new school year begins

Carmen McCollum

A Gary native and former Rhodes Scholar returned home Monday to encourage teachers and administrators to develop the relationship with students that will help children be successful.

Wirt High School graduate Carlton Long talked about the teachers he knew who helped shape and encourage him. Long is co-founder, along with his wife Monique Lawrence-Long, of Lawrence-Long and Co., an international educational consulting company devoted to equity, access and excellence in K-12 and higher education.

Long has taught Contemporary Race Relations at Goldsmith's College, London University. He worked as a Spanish-English interpreter in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He was an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University from 1990 to 1996, where he designed and taught a series of undergraduate and graduate school lectures and seminars. At Columbia University, Carlton also was nominated for the Van Doren Outstanding Professor Award in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994.

Long, the youngest of nine children, said students don't sit at the feet of dignitaries but at the feet of teachers.

"That child returns day after day, week after week, to sit at the feet of teachers," he said. "They trust us with their hearts. You hold their hearts. What you say can cut or help students to soar. Students believe you know them, and you want a relationship with them. As educators, we are special. We are the profession that makes all other professions possible."

Senators Earline Rogers, D-Gary, and Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, along with Rep. Vernon Smith, D-East Chicago, also encouraged teachers to step up.

"You need to understand what time it is," Smith said. "I'm going to take off my legislative hat and put on my Christian hat. Prayer is powerful. You have to have a vision for the Gary Community School Corp. and hold on to it."

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