The education system of America is failing miserably…even under its “No Child Left Behind” Act. Apparently, many children are being left behind through under funding, lack of schools and/or deplorable school conditions and in some schools, lack of security. The dropout rates in most urban centers in America are unbelievably staggering. But, the most alarming aspect of the deteriorating classroom is the decreasing amount of inspiring teachers and/or administrators in the schools today. For a lot of people, their teacher is their role model, their mother, their father, their priest, their social worker, you name it. The job runs the gamut of support to its students. But the society has lost all hope when its teachers are no longer passionate about teaching and inspiring the children to do their very best.
But fortunately, there was one last beacon of hope on the horizon and her name is Evangelene L. Kimber. She was the Principal of Harrisburg High School, John Harris campus. Ms. Kimber left this life on Monday, September 15, 2008 and she is survived by 1,502 children; her two children, Xavier and Shannon Kimber and the students of Harrisburg High. Her homegoing service rivaled that of a federal official with more than 3,000 mourners viewing and/or attending her service.
Ms. Kimber was affectionately known as “Sis” and she demanded excellence in her school and for herself. Her high standards helped her to turn around a school that appeared to be a lost cause. As her obituary describes, she “oversaw the reform of a high school that had deteriorated into a chaotic and unsafe environment.” During her seven year tenure, the school’s graduation rate “more than doubled and college admission rates improved by 383 percent.” She is a 1974 graduate of the school, so it was very near and dear to her heart. She knew all 1,500 of her students by name and she was remembered as being “tough, but fair.” The homegoing service for her was truly a celebration with representatives from the mayor’s office, the state’s house of representatives and senate, and numerous clergy speaking in remembrance of this remarkable woman. Her service was held in the school’s gymnasium. Even the school’s appearance, under her leadership, is state of the art. The football field, where many had fond memories of her attending each and every game, is comparable to a college football field.
One of her former students and her son’s best friend, David Archer, brought the crowd to their feet when he pleaded with the administration in attendance to continue to let the school run under her guidance, so that the students could continue to soar. He described himself as a young man going in the wrong direction that she had saved and he knew there were plenty more just like him coming behind him and they need what Ms. Kimber put in place to keep them on the straight and narrow. Evangelene Kimber is a model of excellence for not only Pennsylvania, but the U.S. school system. With Barack Obama at the helm and her as his Secretary of Education we would have been privy to distinct “change.” Read more about the educational phenom here.